Lost in the Light — Mary Castillo
After Dori Orihuela shoots and kills a woman in self-defense while on duty as a police officer, she gets some time off to recover from her own bullet wound. Although she obviously suffers from something akin to PTSD, she resists taking the antidepressants prescribed while she is being investigated and attending therapy. With nothing else to do, Dori takes the time to get acquainted with her 120 year-old Edwardian mansion, which she recently purchased.
It doesn’t take long for the old house to creep up on her. Plagued by dreams of a man being murdered, she starts to think she’s going crazy. But when the man she has ghostly visions of getting killed actually starts talking to her, she starts to wonder if she shouldn’t start taking those pills.
Now she’s haunted by the memories of the woman she shot as well as an actual ghost. Vicente Sorolla, handsome and tortured, beseeches Dori to find Anna, the woman he once loved. Through Vicente’s stories, Dori and the reader are taken back to the time of Prohibition in National City, Calif., and a time that almost seems lawless.
Meanwhile, as Dori fixes up her house in between researching Vicente’s past, she finds herself falling for her old high school flame Gavin, who is the contractor leading the renovations to her house. But their romance didn’t end well when they were young, so now their interactions are laden with an edgy uncertainty. In addition to her ghost issues, she has a tense relationship with her mother, a new friend with the hots for Gavin, and an over-bearing, but well-meaning Grammy, who is Dori’s primary familial relationship and is trying to exorcise Dori’s house of her ghost. That’s some major conflict and drama.
It’s been a long time since I read a good ol’ fashioned ghost story, but it was a nice change of literary scenery. Castillo created an interesting, and expertly woven tale that is fraught with romance and mystery. Dori’s guardedness, Vicente’s rough edges and Grammy’s spunkiness all made for very real characters and good story telling.
This was an enjoyable read and a refreshing shift from the vampire-flooded market. (Don’t get me wrong, I love those vampires, but the vamp craze is a bit overwhelming.) Castillo knows how to dish up a story with some spice, and I’ll be looking forward to more adventures from Castillo in the future. Lost in the Light can be found in print for as low as $9.99 on Amazon, and on the Kindle for $4.99. If you like this, check out Names I Call My Sister, a collection of short stories featuring Castillo’s introduction to Dori in Till Death Do Us Part.