The Guests on South Battery. Karen White. Penguin Publishing Group. January 2017. 352 pp. ISBN #: 9780451475237.
Melanie Trenholm is returning to work after being home following the birth of her twins. She’s a successful real estate seller and her husband, Jack, is a successful author. They live in an old house in Charleston, South Carolina; in fact most of the homes in their area are historical, “old” homes. Melanie has a gift that she can see the dead and for some reason while she was pregnant she lost that ability. But now it’s back full steam ahead, beginning with someone trying to communicate with her by telephone even though there’s no voice on the other end when she answers the phone. Now some people who have helped her fix up parts of her home in need of desperate changes find that underneath her back yard are questionable artifacts. It seems her house is starting to resemble the proverbial “money pit” with constant surprises.
Returning to work, Melanie meets Jayne, who wants to sell a house she inherited and buy a new home that is ultra-modern. She also finds out that Jayne is looking for a job as a nanny and she’s a perfect match for Melanie as they’re both rather anal about schedules and ways to take care of children. Of course, there has to be a problem and it’s that disastrous things happen whenever Jayne is around. When Melanie visits the house Jayne wants to sell, mysterious events start happening like a talking doll, ringing bells in a home with no electricity, objects being thrown, etc.
The story continues with the mystery obviously being who had lived there beside the woman who left the house to Jayne and what were the turbulent relationships that caused this house to be haunted. Of course, the reader knows the mystery will be solved, but that doesn’t stop the constant thrills, shocks and threats that continue non-stop throughout the whole story.
There’s another sub-plot about an author who stole a plot from one of Jack’s novels. Add to that Jack has had writer’s block ever since Jayne was hired to nanny the couple’s children.
All in all, this is a grand thriller and exciting read for those who love the genre and others as well. The plot is somewhat stereotypical but told in a way that generates and holds interest quite constantly. Nicely crafted, Karen White!