Review: Soul in Present Condition by Mary E. Merrell

The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series
By Mary E. Merrell

Publisher: Morningglory

SiPC front_cover

________________________________________________________________________

Review

In book three of the Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series, real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes faces a number of daunting tasks: she must serve her vampire master Marcus; lay to rest Benny, a ghost with a dangerous history; arrange the sale of a house to Marcus’ maker Lucila; and work to keep her day job going. In addition, she is trying to maintain her connection to her boyfriend Frank and show properties to an elderly Hispanic couple whose son may or may not actually be willing to buy the home he’s promised them.

This third book draws fairly heavily on the first two installments of the series — readers unfamiliar with Rosemary might want to start with House Haunting and Curve Appeal in order to keep up with all of the characters’ histories. However, even those readers who haven’t encountered Rosemary before will be charmed by the way Merrell weaves together the threads of the story; the author gives enough back-story to explain most (if not all) of the connections. The characters are, for the most part, nicely rounded, and the plot comes to a satisfying conclusion.

The text itself is occasionally marred by the sorts of errors that can jar a reader out of the world the author builds and that a careful proofreading should have caught (“their” in place of “they’re,” for example), along with a narrative tendency to over-explain information previously given in dialogue. However, Merrell’s entertaining take on what happens when the daytime world of real estate collides with the nighttime world of vampires is enough to make up for these kinds of problems — this is another enjoyable entry in an engaging series.

Score: 8/10 (4 stars)

~Margo Bond Collins

________________________________________________________________________

Book One: House Haunting

Rosemary Fernandes is a divorced, naïve woman, determined to make it in the tough world of real estate. Keith Laumer is a ghost, eager to leave his earthly haunt. As a real estate agent and a womanizer in life, Keith is the perfect partner to teach Rosemary the ins and outs of the real estate business, and he’s perfectly willing to teach her anything else she wants to know.

Frank Perez is a tough guy tattoo artist with ah-so-wide shoulders, and a chest Rosemary can’t wait to get her hands on. He thinks she’s a tease, jerking him around with this ghost story. And it won’t bother the ghost if the tattoo artist just disappears.

Can there be a love triangle between a goodie two-shoes, a tough guy, and a ghost? And how long will Rosemary remain naïve and alive when her less-than-subtle sleuthing drops her and her friends into a sinister years-old plot?

________________________________________________________________________

Book Two: Curve Appeal

Vampires are creatures of legend.

That’s what real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes thought until the day she started hearing them…the voices of lost souls. When Rosemary encounters the ghost of a murdered stripper, she feels compelled to help, but what happens when the ghost’s secret brings Rosemary to the attention of a serial killer?

The dead are drawn to Rosemary like magnets, but must it attract all the kooks as well? Marcus Lyon’s thinks he’s a vampire, and he wants Rosemary to be his personal assistant, his human servant. Rosemary ignores his crazy proposition until Marcus gives her an offer she can’t refuse. Can she work her business, run errands for the vampire and help the lost souls while staying ahead of a killer out for revenge?

________________________________________________________________________

Book Three: Soul in Present Condition

Divorced. Check. Ghost Whisperer. Check. Human Servant. Check. Great. Check.

Real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes never expected to inherit the ability to communicate with spirits, and she certainly didn’t expect her gift to attract the undead as well. Now Rosemary finds herself ghost whisperer to the lost souls stuck at their haunts and human servant to a gorgeous but aloof vampire Marcus Lyons.

Benito Cruz died with a dangerous secret, a secret that connects the ghost to Rosemary. Can Rosemary send the spirit to his final resting place before his past catches up with them, and can she convince the vampire helping spirits like Benito is her destiny?

When real estate and the supernatural come together it is murder.

________________________________________________________________________

About the Author
Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book might have been, “The Haunted Sofa.”

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Her Young Adult series, Affinity, is also humorous but deals with very real life themes. A reviewer said, “Love it. So different. A fun read.”

Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer.

Links
Twitter: @MaryMerrell7
Website: Mary E. Merrell

SoulIn

2 comments on “Review: Soul in Present Condition by Mary E. Merrell

  1. Hi Margo,

    I want to thank you for your honest review. You are the third reviewer to comment on lack of back story from the previous books. I am concerned about the errors though. I did pay an editor to help find those things besides reading the book out loud, twice. : )

    I think it’s time to go back and take a breather, maybe reread the books again. From some reason, I am so compelled to get these books out. Do you have an idea on how many of these errors you saw? I know of one I can only blame on myself, but I’d like to fix them all before reformatting.

    Thanks again,

    Mary E. Merrell

    • Mary: Don’t let less-than-perfect reviews get you down. The book was really good! I enjoyed it. The lack of backstory is, I think, often what happens when a reader comes to a series in the middle–it really seemed like something that a few sentences here and there could fix. It’s also something I’m paying particular attention to as I’m in the process of continuing two series of my own.

      Also, I’m a college English professor in my day job. I’m a bit of a grammar nerd and am therefore perhaps more likely than the average reader to catch those kinds of things. That said, I also tend to mark them as I see them in books (an unavoidable side effect of grading, I fear). There weren’t all that many, but they stood out to me because I’m me.

      All that said, I would encourage you NOT to quit writing. I love vampire novels and would hate to see a good series derailed just because some reviewers found some nits to pick!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s