Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A Surfeit of (Ghostly) Mauds



When the new owner of the historic Willow Place Inn bought it, she seems to have taken on an unusual sitting tenant – a ghost called Maud. But which one?

Residents of Hudson, Quebec are only too aware of the rumours of hauntings and for many years the ghost has been believed to be a servant girl called Maud who was allegedly murdered there in 1837 and her body buried in the basement.

Not everyone buys this story though, some say previous owners invented it to increase business, others say that a servant girl was certainly murdered there, but that her name was Mary Kirkbright – killed because she overheard a plot by a group of Patriots (those who supported the American War of Independence) against Loyalists (those who supported the British Crown at that time).

There is evidence of a Maud Leger – born in the late nineteenth century and wife of a previous owner of the Inn. She died there in 1960.

Yet another Maud complicates the story, but this one isn’t a person. It’s a boat. A steamer which collided with another boat in 1906. It sank not far from the Inn, killing three people and belonged to the Ottawa River Navigation Company owned by an R.W. Shepard who lived down the road from the Willow Inn.


Within the last month a group of paranormal researchers – Ghost Hunters of Ottawa for Scientific Truth (G.H.O.S.T.) - led by Dan Ducheneaux, conducted an overnight vigil at the Inn which is currently closed for renovations. Their mission was to discover once and for all if the place was haunted and, hopefully, by whom. They duly arrived and set up an array of sophisticated equipment – infra-red cameras, digital recording devices, electromagnetic field detectors. Everything you would expect from a modern, scientific psychic investigation.

Their results were certainly interesting and led Ducheneaux to the conclusion that something was definitely going on there. They recorded a noise that sounded like a child calling out the number “One” but there were no children in or around the building, which is quite effectively soundproofed. They also heard and recorded footsteps on a flight of stairs.


 Their heat sensors were activated when they heard the sound of an older woman who was either laughing or crying. The second floor of the hotel provided the most activity – and unnerved the investigators. Over the years, guests have reported seeing and hearing things they can’t explain and a strong feeling of being watched.

The new owner, Patricia Wenzel, is understandably more than curious to know whether she shares her home with a supernatural tenant but philosophical about its likely effect on business. Particularly these days, with such interest in the paranormal, cast-iron proof of a ghost’s presence would be as likely to increase business as to affect it negatively. Wenzel is certain that, ghost or not, whatever is causing the strange phenomena at the Willow Inn, which dates from 1820, is not malevolent or she would have experienced something untoward herself. 


 So far, the results, while interesting, remain inconclusive. There would seem to be something inexplicable going on there – but as to who or what is causing it, the answer remains elusive, Meanwhile, the Inn is due to reopen later this month (August) and it looks like a charming, old world location with comfortable accommodation and a traditional British menu  - oh, and maybe a Maud or two…
 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Bone White - Ronald Malfi at his Best

A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.
The scrape of bone on bone. . .

Paul Gallo saw the report on the news: a mass murderer leading police to his victims’ graves, in remote Dread’s Hand, Alaska.

It’s not even a town; more like the bad memory of a town. The same bit of wilderness where his twin brother went missing a year ago. As the bodies are exhumed, Paul travels to Alaska to get closure and put his grief to rest.

But the mystery is only beginning. What Paul finds are superstitious locals who talk of the devil stealing souls, and a line of wooden crosses to keep what’s in the woods from coming out. He finds no closure because no one can explain exactly what happened to Danny.

And the more he searches for answers, the more he finds himself becoming part of the mystery. . .



My Review

The bodies are only the beginning… When old Joe Mallory wanders into town, no one has seen him for months, years maybe and the intervening time has not been kind to him. Frostbite, sores, bloodsoaked clothes and, as he sits in the luncheonette, enjoying a cup of his favourite Tabby’s hot chocolate, he calmly announces that he has killed eight people. He’ll just wait outside the church until Val Dremmell – the best this town has for law enforcement – comes to get him and turn him over to the state police. Odd? Crazy? Well this IS Dread’s Hand – a one-time mining town in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness -where folks take care of themselves and don’t have much truck with outsiders. They drink, some of them indulge in other substances, and they know how to keep secrets.



So, when Paul Gallo reads about the murders and arrives to try and find out for himself what happened to his missing twin, the hostility he meets turns to something even more sinister as he begins to explore the frozen wastes. Short days, long nights, and something devilish in the dark forests.



Ronald Malfi is a master of his genre, and his genre is a successful fusion between horror, suspense, crime and thriller where the story unfolds layer after layer, carrying the reader along and exciting all the senses. Following on from the excellent ‘Little Girls’ and ‘The Night Parade’, ‘Bone White’ is sure to delight his fans and new readers alike.
 

Praise for Ronald Malfi

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting, the words, the ending. Color me impressed.” –Melissa Reads on The Night Parade

“The Night Parade has a creepy vibe and some genuinely terrifying moments. I even teared up a time or two. It's everything I look for in a great read.” – Frank Errington on The Night Parade


“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
—FearNet

“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books

“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon

“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”
Suspense Magazine
 
 Ronald Malfi, Biography

Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including Bone White, this summer’s release from Kensington.

In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.

Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.

Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at http://www.ronmalfi.com.
 You can find 'Bone White' here: