Crimson at Cape May
The Wild Rose Press (2020)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (10/20)
“Crimson at Cape May” is the second installment in The Haunted Shores series by award-winning author, Randy Overbeck.
When Darrell Henshaw takes a job coaching a summer football camp in Cape May, he has no idea this quaint resort town is one of the most haunted seaports on the East Coast. Not only that, he soon learns his reputation precedes him when the town’s resident ghost, the “Haunted Bride” seeks his help exacting justice for her murder and uncovering a human trafficking racket! This isn’t exactly what Darrell signed up for but one thing’s for sure – it will be a summer he won’t soon forget.
Where to start? I loved everything about this book. As a ghost story combined with a mystery, a romance, a social injustice, and stunning historical details, “Crimson at Cape May” is a narrative that truly has something for everyone. Randy Overbeck writes with a style that is as engaging and entertaining as it is suspenseful and thrilling. He enchants readers with his picturesque details about a remarkable old town and keeps them on the edge of their seats with unpredictable plot twists. He scares them (well, this reader anyway) with the paranormal element, stimulating the unsettling notion that ghosts really do exist, and enchants them with characters that are genuine and flawed, loveable and despicable.
Speaking of characters, I was especially intrigued with the two amateur sleuths, Darrell Henshaw and his reluctant sidekick, Cassie. Cassie is a troubled teen who is a sensitive, just like Darrell, meaning they can see ghosts. The two of them, as total opposites, provide an edge to the chase that adds authenticity and balance.
The most sobering storyline in the book for me was the human trafficking angle. Overbeck puts a spotlight on this social justice issue in a way that makes you shake your head in disbelief and will hopefully, enlighten more people on the matter. Human trafficking is at its highest level in history yet continues to flourish well under society’s radar. Make no mistake, it’s an issue that doesn’t discriminate, taking its victims from all walks of life. This issue is perhaps the most haunting aspect of the novel and, being a ghost story, that’s something!
As the second book in a series, “Crimson at Cape May”stands strongly on its own merits, but if you’re like me and read this one first, you’ll want to go back and read the first one, “Blood on the Chesapeake.” Each book in the series highlighting a different seashore and social issue promises the possibility of a long-running, high quality paranormal mystery series I look forward to reading.