Monday, October 29, 2012

Review~Murder On A Ghost Ship @DianeRapp


Halloween is almost here.  It's time for a good ghost story.  Here is one of my fav's.

Murder on a Ghost Ship is the second novel in the High Seas Mystery Series.  I fell in love with the first in the series, ‘Murder Caribbean-Style’. 

I was happily enchanted, all over again.

Diane Rapp has a musical style of writing that envelopes you in the story, transporting you to beautiful places.  However, be prepared to go to some very ugly scenes.

Enjoy the ocean breeze as you embark on your cruise and deepen your relationship with the characters. 

You will smile at the blossoming love story between Kayla and Steven.  They make a lovely couple- deserving happiness.  However, will they find their happy ending?

Emily is a strong powerful woman, but she may surprise you by showing her soft side.  The exotic Natalia will prove that her powers may not be just for show.  Her gift may not be a match for “The Lady”.

Romance may be in the air, but all is not rosy. 

There is a ghost aboard the ship- she is not happy and she wants everyone to know...  Her increasing rage could end in murder.

The glamorous Hollywood guests seem to have more than one secret.  A suspected love triangle could end in a jealous frenzy.

There are predators in the shadows and they are capable of killing! 

The friends’ band together to solve this mystery and find that danger lurks on the ship.  

 Interview with Diane Rapp

K- I love a great ghost story and you kept me on the edge of my seat with this particular ghost.  Are you a believer?

D- I’ve watched every episode of Ghost Whisperer so many times that I recognize the plot after the first five minutes.  I’ve known people who claimed to experience a haunting, so I have an open mind on the subject.  (My husband scoffs but claims he enjoyed my book.)  Who are we to say that a spirit can’t linger on earth if it has unfinished business? 

K- I’m a believer.

Diane- I am in love the ‘High Seas Mystery Series’.  Please tell me we will be seeing more of Kayla, Steven & the gang.

D- You can bet on it!  I’m doing a timeline for a cruise mystery to Alaska and might book another trip--purely for research.  I’ve already got several intriguing elements to the story planned, including an art heist, a group of golfers who want to play golf at midnight, and another murder.  The title is Murder for Glacier Blue.  Did I mention the wedding on Glacier Bay?  It will happen if Steven’s ex-wife doesn’t mess things up for Kayla…

K- Oh I can’t wait!

I mentioned this before, but I think I would love to see the series on the big screen- or even as a Lifetime movie.  It would be the best Lifetime movie- ever!  Have you ever thought about that?

D- Absolutely, do you have any connections in Hollywood?  I used to know someone and I really need to contact them, because I “cast” actors in the character roles whenever I see a good movie.  Wouldn’t it be fun to explore these stories on location?  I’m up for the trip.

K- Yes!  I am up for that research project.  Just let me know when.  

I wish I had some connections in Hollywood- but not yet…In terms of casting- I envision Amy Adams as Kayla, Julian McMahon as Steven (okay he is actually Australian, but he’s just sooo handsome!),  Ann Margaret as Emily,  Mila Kunis as Natalia &  Olivia Wilde as ‘The Lady’.  Please tell me your vision.

D- Sounds like a great cast to me.  I love Amy Adams and she’s a great actress but I also like Piper Parabo.  She’s real sassy and cute as a CIA agent.  I admit I had to “Google” Julian McMahon but recognized him the minute I saw his face.  I didn’t know he’s an aussie, and he is a hunk.  I also really like Hugh Jackman or Gerard Butler as leading men, my favorite would be Matt Bomer.  His blue eyes would make Steven sexy (and I’m sure he could learn to fake a British accent).  Mila Kunis would be beautiful as Natalia, but when I saw Rooney Mara at the Oscars without her “Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” persona, I thought she’d also make a great Natalia (thin and mysterious).    I could see Jude Law as Steven’s Interpol friend, Jason Briggs, the guy who develops an attraction to Natalia.  The “Lady” is not as sexy as Olivia Wilde.  She’s more like a Jackie Kennedy type, sophisticated but shy.  I’d cast Rachel Weiss in that role.  

This is so much fun.  How big a budget do we have?  I think I just blew the budget with my choices but who cares.

K- Okay- I see what you mean.  You are very good at casting.  Don’t worry about the budget- this is going to be a box office blockbuster! 

I'm curious.  Kayla, the heroine in this series is a truly likeable character.  She is strong and independent with just a touch of vulnerability.  I heard a rumor that there is special inspiration behind Kayla’s character- is this true?

D- Yes!  My daughter, Laura, allowed me to “borrow” her characteristics and personality for the story.  She married an Englishman, who she met while working on a cruise ship, and they have a beautiful little girl.  They started as the general role models, but the characters got exaggerated and the stories are pure fiction.  She now manages my webpage.

K- I love a happy ending.  It sounds like you have a lovely family.

I am excited about your new science fiction series.  I just bought 'Howl of the Wolf'.  I am so looking forward to reading it!  What was your inspiration here?

D- I began writing for a German Shepherd Dog club magazine.  I was the editor but no one else submitted articles, so I filled the pages with short stories about dogs.  The short pieces migrated to longer one, and then my imagination got shot into outer space with sentient wolves.  They are modeled after my German Shepherd who passed away over a year ago.  I still visit him on the planet Drako. 

I continued writing as a cure for insomnia.  I’d think of a “what if scenario” while trying to fall asleep.  My mind worked on it night after night until the idea reached a boiling point. I needed to type as fast as my fingers would move to get it into a computer.  Nothing was ever planned—and real work needed to be done.  When I got serious, I had lots of fragmented pieces that I’m still rearranging.  When I wrote the mysteries I had a plan, but who sticks to the plan? 

K- I believe that these stories take on a life of their own.

 If you would like, I would love to do the writing exercise.  I give you a scene and then you re-write it in your own captivating style.  Are you game?

D-- Always.  I generally pick a character and mold the scene around that person.

K- Okay, then here it is:

There were rumors about Kamlesh.  He had powers.  They were magical gifts.  This magic frightened the people of the village.  An untouchable could never become a guru of God, so they believed that he was evil.

"He has evil powers- dark powers.  An untouchable cannot be a guru of God."

Dadoo had insisted on the marriage between Pratibha and Anil.  It was a good match.  Anil was of a higher caste.  He belonged to the same caste as their family.  Pratibha cried every day and every night.  Her beautiful face became gaunt as her petite frame became thinner and thinner.

"Please Pratibha- eat something.  You want to be a healthy, beautiful bride, don't you?"

"I don't even want to live if I have to marry Anil!"
She had no appetite- she could not bear to eat a bite when her happy future was disappearing.  She begged her parents to stop the wedding and break the engagement.  They would not listen.  They thought that they were doing the right thing by arranging this marriage.  It was their custom.  They thought they had found a good man that could provide for their daughter and give her a good life.

Pratibha watched Kamlesh walk serenely down the dusty path to the temple, located in the forest at the edge of her family’s property.  She sighed at the sight of him, imagining his chocolate brown eyes and inky black hair that dangled over his high forehead.  She hurried with her morning chores and excused herself to attend her prayers.  She must speak with him. 

As she slipped into the temple she uttered a gasp at the sight of Kamlesh.  He hovered two inches above the stone floor, sitting cross-legged, while chanting his mantra.  He’s a holy man!  She rushed back to the palace with the news, eager to let her father know.

“Dadoo, you must come see Kamlesh!” she cried, dragging her father toward the temple.  “He’s a guru of God!”

Her father shook his head and frowned.  “You know he’s untouchable and cannot be a guru.  Don’t speak such rubbish, my daughter.”  When he saw Kamlesh his eyes grew round as saucers and backed out of the temple trembling.  “He’s got evil powers!  Never go near him again, lest he turn you into a spirit and whisk you away.”

“No, Dadoo.  I love Kamlesh and want to marry him.  He’s the kindest man I’ve ever known and could not possess dark powers.”

“Villagers already fear him, and now I’ve seen his magic for myself.”  Dadoo’s face reddened and he shook his fist.  “Speak no more of this, daughter.  You’re promised to Anil and the marriage will take place as arranged.  He’s a member of our caste and a rich man.  Go back to our palace and never go into this forest again.”

Hot tears burned in Pratibha’s eyes.  “I beg you, Dadoo.  I do not love Anil and cannot marry him.  Please, don’t make me disobey.”

“I’ll banish Kamlesh from the village, and you’ll never see him again.  Go!  Do not shame our family with talk of marrying an untouchable; by marrying Kamlesh, you would become dead to our family.”

During the weeks approaching the wedding with Anil, Pratibha’s eyes remained swollen with tears but her round cheeks turned gaunt.  Her mother pleaded, “Please eat, something.  You want to be a beautiful, healthy bride on your wedding day.”

“No!  I’d rather waste to skin and bones than marry Anil.  Please don’t make me go through with this wedding, or my ghost will haunt you from my grave,” Pratibha sobbed.

Her mother shook her head and continued to sew the magnificent wedding gown that would demonstrate to the village their family wealth and pride.  Pratibha knew her parents believed they did the right thing in arranging her marriage to a wealthy man of her own caste.  Customs must be followed.  She thought about Kamlesh, her handsome lover and rubbed the small bulge in her belly.  She’d never marry another man.

K- You never cease to amaze me.  Your writing is musical.  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.  I hope we can chat again, after I’ve had a chance to read your new book, ‘Howl of the Wolf.’

You can find Diane’s books here     

You can follow Diane on Twitter here 

Find Diane’s website here    


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