#BookReview – SWAMP GHOSTS by Marcia Meara #RomanticSuspense #MurderMystery #IndieThursday

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this book in paperback – something I haven’t read for a while, and it reminded me why I should return to reading on paper at times, instead of on screen.
Swamp GhostsSwamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s nothing quite like reading a book that successfully blends genres, and this one does it extremely well. I’m not sure if you’d class it as a ‘romantic murder mystery’, or a ‘murder mystery with romance’, but hey, you get the picture.
Maggie Devlin is a strong woman, running her own river boat tour business with confidence and a genuine desire to give her clients the best possible eco experience on the St Johns River in Central Florida. When the over-large and impossibly good-looking man with more than a passing resemblance to the Viking god Thor makes his uneasy way down the pier to her boat, she takes immediate affront at his opening words, and has to clamp a firm control on her desire to tell him to get lost when he outlines his lucrative business proposition. Unfortunately, Maggie needs the money.
Swamp Ghosts was a real treat to read; characters with depth and convincing backgrounds, relationships that unfurled in a beautiful and believable manner, fabulous setting, delightful dialogue, humour, animals, and great writing throughout. The serial killer thread develops naturally out of the romantic story, and the author skilfully weaves in more than one plausible red herring to keep you guessing.
Like Maggie, I don’t always have great trust in men, and like her, I was shocked as hell when I discovered the identity of the killer – very well done, Mrs Meara!
The other aspect of this book that added enjoyment for me, was learning more about the wildlife of the area, and in particular the reptiles. In my youth, I used to keep a variety of snakes, and once in a while I might just forget to warn a visitor that if they used the bathroom, they would be sharing it with a 6 foot python having her weekly swim in the bath. Go read the book, then you’ll understand why that resonated with me…
I have only one reservation about this story – I find it hard to believe that men like Gunn really exist. I am, however, willing to be proven wrong…

Highly recommended if you like romance, suspense, and especially wild life.

View all my reviews

About the author

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Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of 29 years, four cats, and two dachshunds. When not working on her writing or blogs, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that a mere 65 years later, she is finally pursuing that dream. She has published five books to date:

Wake-Robin Ridge
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2

Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2

Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

Marcia keeps two blogs:

Bookin’ It: http://marciameara.wordpress.com

And she hosts the multi-author blog: The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/

You can reach Marcia via email at mmeara@cfl.rr.com or on the following social media sites: 

Twitter: @marciameara
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcia.meara.writer
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marciameara/

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15 comments

  1. Deb, thanks so much for such a wonderful review. I’m really happy that you enjoyed the book. It was such fun to put my years of canoeing and birding in Florida to use as a background for my story. I’m very fond of reptiles, as you could probably tell, and I loved weaving them into the tale. Your words make me feel that this particular labor of love was worthwhile. Thanks, again! (I’m reblogging this on TWS. It made my day!)

    1. Marcia, you are most welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and have only been sitting on the review to wait for the appropriate day of the week in Rosie’s hashtag calendar!
      As you might gather, I’m a reptile fan too, so that made it all the more fun 😀

      1. From one reptile lover to another, then. Poor snakes. They get such a bad rap. 😦 I will say, though, what I loved most in this book was learning so much about leucistic alligators. That was super fun for me, and I hope it piqued your curiosity, as well. They’re kind of mystical looking creatures–like white dragons, with big, blue eyes. 😀

        Still happy you enjoyed the story. The 2nd book, Finding Hunter, is very different. You can only have so many deranged serial killers in a town of 6,000 souls, before everyone moves away. 😀 Hunter Painter & Willow Greene were both introduced in SG, and Finding Hunter is their tale, and it involves a lot of drama caused by psychological issues in a very dysfunctional family. Bad things happen, sometimes to good people. Hope you get a chance to read it some day, and let me know what you think. In the meantime, Prince’s Man is coming up NEXT in my own reading pile. I will be so glad to get to it, so I’m primed for your next book, as soon as it’s available.

        Have a great evening.

      2. Ooh, er, now I’m the nervous one, I so hope you enjoy Prince’s Man.
        I did love finding out about the leucistic reptiles, I’ve never even heard of that genetic quirk. I once owned an albino corn snake, with the yellow patterning on the scales and the red eyes, but she was solid white scales beneath the patterns, not translucent-looking. She led us on a merry hunt one day, escaping mid-winter in the Highlands. She was outdoors for 2 weeks before she re-surfaced, and I was amazed she survived, but perhaps in this case the snow worked in her favour.

      3. When it comes to genetic differences in albino reptiles, there are many, many, because of the selective breeding in the snake trade. Not all rules apply equally. 🙂 I’ve seen photos of albino snakes that were so transparent, the entire snake looked pink. But I’ve also seen albino corn snakes (and others) like you describe.

        The basic difference in albinos and leucistic that I described in my book and in the Author’s Notes won’t cover every permutation with snakes, due to that selective breeding. And I’m not an expert on the genetic coding, etc, so I didn’t go into all of that. But for the purposes of my story, and “in general,” the differences I described hold true. Snake breeders call some of their snakes “partial albinos,” too, which further confuses matters.

        For alligators, though, it’s easier. You have one or the other, pretty much. 125 to 150 albinos known to exist in the world, with pink/red eyes, and a pinkish cast to parts of their bodies where the scales are very translucent. And a mere 14 leucistic alligators, with opaque, white scales, crystal blue eyes, and no pinkish cast. Though some of them have patches of normal colored pigment here and there.

        The albinos carry genetic issues that can cause series defects, as well, and they seldom get full size, or live full lives. The leucistics don’t have these problems and can get just as large as a normal alligator, and live just as long.

        It’s all fascinating stuff to me. 🙂 BTW, have you seen my picture of Big Blue? (Okay, it’s not really Big Blue, but it IS exactly what he would look like.)

      4. I have – awesome indeed. And wow, that’s an incredibly small number.

  2. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:
    What a great review! I just had to share. Deb, you’ve managed to chase my mullygrubs away, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  3. BTW, so glad your snake survived the ordeal. I’ll bet the cold temps kept her appetite at bay, and slowed down her metabolism. Maybe?

    1. I guess so. We were pretty worried about the buzzards than hunt our garden (the dogs think it’s wonderful when the odd dead animal drops from the sky when they lose grip – ‘look, mum, it’s raining rabbits!’), but I’m pretty sure she was holed up beneath a shrub the dogs kept investigating. I did look, but couldn’t see her, perhaps she’d literally found a hole.
      Imagine my surprise, 2 weeks later, when I stepped out the front door to find her slithering slowly across the gravel! We had more than an acre of mountainside at that house, so I can only guess she was attracted to the warmth of the house instead of heading downward to the burn (river) at the bottom.
      She put up quite a fight – wrapped herself around the back wheel of one of the cars – but eventually I won. She wasn’t impressed!
      BTW, her name was ‘Snowy’, so perhaps that was prophetic.

      1. Corn snakes are native to large parts of the U.S., including some states with pretty cold winters. I imagine they know how to find warm places to hole up (literally or not) until the weather is more favorable. But I would have been very concerned for her, too, and you’re pretty lucky you finally caught her. Yay!

  4. Wow, what an exciting review! Congrats Marcia, Deb gives the best thorough reviews! 🙂

    1. Yes, she does, doesn’t she? And this one made me very happy. I’m always nervous when another writer reviews one of my books, especially when I’ve heard so many good things about them. (Can’t wait to read The Prince’s Man). I was truly pleased that Debby enjoyed Swamp Ghosts, and very grateful for the lovely review.

      1. I know that intimidating feeling about reviews, especially when they’re given by a fellow author. 🙂

  5. Just popped by again to check on your “sidebar” lol. Looks good Deb, and not even disorderly! 🙂 🙂

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