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Jamie Davis Writes

On My Bookshelf: Johannes Cabal The Necromancer, by Jonathan L. Howard

Never before has a deal with the devil been such rollicking good fun!

Johannes Cabal The Necromancer

Howard’s portrayal of Johannes, and his vampire brother (Horst), makes for a hilariously dark read that takes you from graveyards, from town to town, and directly into the pits of hell itself. Johannes is a scientist who previously made a deal with the devil to learn the art of necromancy. Now, he wants his soul back and makes a second deal with the devil in order to win it back. One that involves a dark carnival (read as inspired by “Something Wicked this Way Comes,” by Ray Bradbury) in which Johannes must get one hundred souls signed over to the devil in order to win his soul back.

You will see just how far over the line Johannes is willing to step as far as getting evil/corrupt people to sign over their souls (people who are arguably damned anyway) vs. tricking innocent souls into signing their lives away. It makes for an interesting ponder over what you might be capable of doing to others if it meant saving yourself or someone you loved. Would you damn an innocent in order to save yourself? If you say that you wouldn’t, I bet when push came to shove, you would. The fight for self-preservation in order to live is very strong, and is an ingrained instinct that would be hard to change, even if you wanted to.

The writing is full of wit, and the darkness of the subject matter is balanced with the humor of both the situations themselves, and by the dialogue between the characters.

I loved it! We learn at the end of this book exactly why necromancy is so important to Johannes. He doesn’t want to create a zombie army to do his evil bidding, nothing like that. The point isn’t that he wants a bunch of animated corpses to provide free labor to work in his lab. He has a reason for wanting what he wants that isn’t based on an evil desire to harm the world, and this reason is what makes him a sympathetic character.

This is the first book of a series, and I have already ordered the remaining books, with the exception of the fifth (because it hasn’t been released yet).

Montana – Late Summer Road Notes

Montana

Montana – Beautiful. Livingston, Bozeman, Emigrant, Big Sky. We will see you again soon.

Yellowstone: Apparently, where the dumbest people in the world congregate, to elbow each other while fighting over the opportunity to photograph buffalo alongside the road. It concerned me greatly that we found our way among them. 35 mph for 3 hours. Can we please have this day refunded to our life bank?

Jackson, WY – Grand Tetons and the Snake River. Taggart Lake secluded hike. Beautiful patio dining at Signal Mountain Lodge.

Idaho Falls – a dignified standoffishness. Steak bites with gorgonzola sauce. Greenbelt river walk.

Salt Lake City – the Mormons seem to be doing very well with their cult out here. Butternut squash on a patio. Ruth’s Diner.

Scenes from Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Dale Chihuly installations. A date night in Atlanta. One gorgeous walk.

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NOT Chihuly! Natural beauty.

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On My Bookshelf: The Angel’s Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Angel's Game

Addictive, compelling, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Kept me up at night reading. This is the second book of the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series.

**SPOILER ALERT**

How much is real vs. what is all a product of David Martin’s tortured mind is up to the reader to decide. This is part of the magic and fun of the book. Compare the scene on p.106 with Cristina displaying the photo of a young girl holding the hand of a man, walking on the beach. She finds it in her father’s possessions after he passes, and she says to Martin: “I don’t know. I don’t remember that place or that day. I’m not even sure that man is my father. It’s as if the moment never existed…” Then, go to the end of the book on p. 529 where Corelli says he is punishing David with bringing Cristina back to him as a child. The moment comes full circle!

David is introduced to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and “Lux Aeterna,” by D.M. draws him in. When he begins reading, he realizes that the mysterious mansion he’s been renting was also the former house of “D.M.,” and that very likely he typed it using the same typewriter that David had recently been using. Creepy!

There are too many story lines and characters for everything to just be in David’s head, I think. But, what about all the deaths – his previous publishers; Pedro; and Cristina? Did David do it? If it is all in his head, how do you explain what happened to the previous occupant, “D.M.,” and all of those interwoven stories?

A story of a madman or a story of man who made a deal with the devil? I don’t know. It’s beautifully complicated. I’m halfway through “The Prisoner of Heaven,” the third installment. Maybe I will know more by tomorrow night!

PW Has Reviewed “America’s Most Haunted Hotels”

http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7387-4800-9

I could not be happier right now. I have no idea who reviewed the book, but THANK YOU, whoever you are. Wherever you are.

 

On My Bookshelf: The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A shot of my worn and tattered copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s “The Shadow of the Wind,” complete with “OH MY GOD!” post-its. The Shadow of the WindI write about this book because I loved it, and I want to remember it. In writing, I am forced to reflect upon how much pleasure I derived from reading the book.

It is a gothic tale set in 1945, Barcelona. Daniel, the bookseller’s son, is introduced to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and makes his selection of one book from the labyrinth to take home and care for. In doing so, he finds himself involved in a real-life mystery. You see, the book he selected was written by a man named Julian Carax, and very well may be the last book in existence by Carax. Someone has been finding the Carax works and destroying them.

I love that it is a book about a book! I love the story, but I also love the writing itself, and how Zafon has a style that makes me want to keep reading. The man is a beautiful writer. The “Angel of the Mist” story that begins on page 233 is a haunting touch, as is Maria Jacinta’s detailing of her encounters with Zacarias (begin on page 260), and the storyline of Daniel and Fermin visiting her in the asylum.

I loved this first book so much that I immediately started reading the second book in the series, and I am about 200 pages in to “The Angel’s Game,” right now! To think, I found this gorgeous read because of a visit to the Book Warehouse over the July 4 weekend, where I unwittingly purchased the third book in the series first!

 

 

Governor’s Harbor – Eleuthera, The Journey Continues

A pretty little historic corner of Governor’s Harbor, Eleuthera.

St. Patrick’s Church, their Prayer Garden, and Cemetery:

St. Patrick's Church - side viewSt. Patrick's ChurchSt. Patrick's - cemeteryPrayer gardenSt. Patrick's Church - Prayer GardenAs the Father Has Loved Me so Have I Loved You

Haynes Library, 1897:

Road by the church and libraryHaynes Library - Front viewHaynes Library - sideHaynes LibraryHaynes Library - full exterior and side stairs

The Journey Continues. I like it.

The Journey Continues

Book Haul – A Visit to The Book Warehouse

The long weekend last week led me to a stop at an old outlet mall in Savannah, Georgia. As depressing as the center was, there was one hidden gem — The Book Warehouse. The books I chose were all former library books, and were dirt cheap (I think I got all five for under $7.00, which pleases me greatly).

Book Haul - Book WarehouseSo far, I would say I have definitely been getting some bang for my bucks!

I do still use the library (mostly to feel like I’m getting at least some use out of all the taxes I remit), but I have grown more likely to purchase as I age because I find that one of the greatest pleasures is to physically mark the passages I like while I am reading (they frown upon that at the library, by the way, even if you are marking up the very book you wrote, for God’s sake. But hey, I can accept that I just wrote it, and I don’t own rights to mark up everyone else’s copy… I guess.).

For specific purchases, I still prefer to go online via Amazon or Half.com and have things delivered to the house, but there is nothing like the treasure hunt of walking around a retail store and finding books. I see it as a treat, and I love seeing every bookstore I can.

The bottom two books pictured above have already been read. They are:  Death Comes to Pemberley; and West of Sunset (a fantastic fictional account of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last years, while he was working in Hollywood, and penning “The Last Tycoon).”

I have to say, though, that what really makes me nerd out is that 3 out of 5 of these treasures have DECKLE EDGES!

The Deckle Edge
The Deckle Edge

Apparently, the deckle edge dates back to the days when you used to need a knife to read a book.  http://www.themillions.com/2010/02/deckle-edge-in-the-age-of-mechanical-reproduction.html

Maybe one day I will write a book that comes out in hardcover with a secret monogram on the cover (the regal Davis family crest, perhaps) and deckle edges. Maybe it will even be good.

Ghost Brothers at The Fitzpatrick Hotel

“Juwan said he thinks he closed the portal, and now I’ve got to go sleep in there.” — Marcus

Many years ago, Sam Queen and I conducted a mini-investigation at The Fitzpatrick Hotel in Washington, Georgia. I remember investigating the ballroom late at night, and although we did not believe the investigation turned up any “evidence,” we were both impressed by the beauty and the feel of the old hotel, as well as the history of the restoration as evidenced in the book that was shared at the registration desk.

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The Fitzpatrick Hotel, and the small town of Washington, Georgia, itself, is a special place, and I remember the hotel and town fondly. It’s funny, because I couldn’t even tell you what drew me to the place. A feeling, I guess. A rogue hunch. I needed to get into that tower room, and Sam and I needed local places to practice before ultimately researching and traveling for the book we worked on in 2012 (Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums – released in 2013 by Llewellyn Worldwide).

The whole town is full of history, and old buildings that beg to be investigated.

It pleased me to watch this new paranormal team feature and investigate The Fitzpatrick Hotel. It was educational to learn more of the history of the land and building, because we did not know any of this when we visited. For instance, these interesting little points from the show:

  • Built on top of a cemetery from the late 1700s. They moved the headstones away, but not the bodies. Polly Barclay, hung for killing her husband, may be buried in this cemetery.
  • Woman pushed out of window (Room 307) by lover’s wife in the 1930s. Guests report strange energy in that room. You will see that I took a picture in May 2011 of the keys to Room 307. I had no knowledge of the hotel’s history, but was drawn to specially selecting this room for our investigation. Interesting. 
  • Robert Geiger, Owner of Talk of the Town (the attached restaurant), gave a story that he’s had a basket thrown out of his hands and smashed into a wall.
  • Co-owner, Jim, believes Room 200 is haunted by the Fitzpatrick family.

I thought the show was hilarious! Seeing the guys reluctantly participate in some of the paranormal investigations was a refreshing take on the typical “[Insert mysterious loud noise] Did you hear that?” schtick that unfortunately gets overplayed a bit for the paranormal television genre. The Bloody Mary experiment is something that I have never done, and never will do. I can’t look at myself in the mirror for that long of a time in the dark. It’s just not right.

The guys had flashlights lighting up seemingly in response to questions (you know I love that method!) and batteries were drained in combination with an EVP of a mysterious breath. I thought the Spirit Circle experiment that they conducted in the ballroom was interesting, with the alphabet represented on pieces of paper. It was as though they were participating in a life-size human Ouija Board. Marcus declined to participate in that one, because he didn’t want to “open anything up.”

Strangely, despite voicing that opinion, Marcus was the one who was woken up in the middle of the night because something touched him. He was not having it at all, and woke his team up. It was time to go. Active dreaming, hallucination, or real unexplainable touch? Who can say.

They had a lot of interesting things happen to them that they captured on camera, and they were entertaining to watch. My takeaway from the show? Me, slamming my fist in the mattress while I watched, exclaiming: “Man, I knew that place was haunted!”

If you ask me, that whole town is haunted. Particularly, that white columned Vampire House that smells old. Trust me on that one.

 

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