House of Ashes

A Haunted Bluffs Mystery

Loretta Marion interweaves the distant and near past along with the present in this suspense story. Cassandra Mitchell is an interesting leading lady and amateur sleuth. Practically from the start she tries to paint herself as a flawed individual. Dwelling on her affair while her marriage was falling apart and the fact that she blames herself for her financial difficulties that seem to be her husband’s doing. The setting itself is almost a main character and as such it adds to the feeling that everyone in the small town seems to know Cassie and have opinions about her choices. I enjoyed meeting her sister’s friends but found it a little hard to believe she’d have such close ties with high school friends when she know lives on the opposite side of the country and hasn’t been back in years. I think Cassie was so tied up in her own worries that she missed the warning signs from her new young friends and I found that to be a little disappointed for an intelligent, artistic woman not to pick up on so many hints prior to the actual disappearance. While I enjoyed the story overall I just felt I was missing the answers to too many questions to be satisfied with what I felt was an abrupt ending after such detailed description. This is a pleasant read if you are looking for a standard, seaside-community suspense.

The Story: Cassandra Mitchell is determined to keep her family home however things will not be easy. She’s taken to manual labor after a nasty divorce leaves her deep in debt. However when a nice young couple arrives things start to look up until one day they disappear without a trace. Does the trade guy of her family’s past have anything to do with this? Cassie is determined to solve the mystery.

Book Blurb for House of Ashes

A family patriarch’s dying proclamation, an enigmatic disappearance, and a century-old curse converge in the shadows of a majestic home on Cape Cod’s craggy coast.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it's by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter?but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help?until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what's happened to the young couple...even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police?as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism?Cassie can't help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family's dark curse destroys everything in its path?

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2018 3.00