Friday, November 12, 2021

Virtual Book Tour + Review + #Giveaway: Scarlet at Crystal River by Randy Overbeck @OverbeckRandy @GoddessFish


Scarlet At Crystal River

by Randy Overbeck

GENRE: Mystery


All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.

When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.


Darrell ran harder, finishing the loop and circling back to Erin. She was so engrossed in her paperback he managed to sneak up behind her. He leaned and in and grabbed another long kiss.

She kissed him back, smiling. “Now that’s better than a little fictional romance.” She got up and stretched her long legs.

You ready for some waves?” he asked.

If you’re up to it, let’s do a mile or so on the sand first.”

You’re on.” Darrell gave a gentlemanly wave of his hand.

I’ll race you.”

Erin took off like a shot, and Darrell hurried after her. Since the beach was small, they covered the same ground Darrell had a few minutes earlier, passing the family sandcastle builders, another jogger, and the same strolling couples. As usual, she was quick, and he had to hustle to keep up, using some fancy footwork to sidestep sunbathers as they ran. When they got to the north end of the beach where Darrell had turned to double back, Erin headed for a little spit of land that strutted out into the water. He looked beyond and saw what she was headed for. Accelerating, he passed her.

Ahead, at the far end of the beach, a pair of young kids, he’d guess about six, sat in the sand as the waves rolled over their legs. Their small hands busied with a primitive sandcastle. One had long, brown hair tied into pigtails, and the other had a full head of brown hair, unkempt and in need of a trim. He came up to them and stopped, Erin a few seconds behind.

The kids wore street clothes, not swimsuits, but he didn’t think much about it. Then he noticed something about the young boy. His right leg was stuck out at a grotesque angle, as if it had been broken and never set. Both kids giggled at the gurgling water that rolled up around their bare feet and pooled in the makeshift moat they’d dug around their sand creation. The castle was crude, a nearly round construction with seashells sticking up like turrets. The two kids glanced up, caramel eyes wide and pleading with half smiles of white teeth.

In unison, they said, “Ayudaños?”

Huh?” Darrell said.

Cute castle, huh?” Erin stared at the sand and looked up at Darrell. “I wonder who made it?” Her eyes roamed around the area. “Out here on this spit of land it isn’t going to last very long.”

Those kids—” he started, pointing to the pair. When he looked down, the sandcastle sat alone, the gulf water flowing around the construction and into the crude moat.

His glance darted out to the waves, thinking they’d abandoned their work and ran into the water, even in their street clothes, though he wondered how the boy could have run.

No girl or boy.

Oh, God! The same two kids? “You vill have two visitors.”

What’d you say?” Erin asked, her gaze meeting his.

The ghosts. Erin hadn’t seen them!

Shit, he couldn’t tell her. Not now. Not here.

Nothing,” he managed around the lump in his throat and glanced back down at the sand.

There at his feet, the crude sand construction they’d been working on, complete with the three blue seashells sticking out of the top, sat alone on the sand. He reached down and grabbed one of the small seashells as the prickle on his neck returned and sizzled. Then he sensed something else, something ominous. No, not ominous, malevolent. More of Natalia’s warning came back to him.

I see a malevolence, a great danger lurking nearby.”

A big wave rushed in, rolling over their ankles and leveling the mound of sand, leaving the beach empty. As if nothing had ever been there.


My Review:

Darrell Henshaw and his beautiful wife Erin are honeymooning off the Gulf Coast of Florida in a little town called Crystal River. The two are enjoying their time in Crystal River with the warm and beautiful weather.

They are having a great time until Darrell starts to see a little boy and a little girl around town in different places. The thing is Darrell is the only one who can see them. Darrell has a special gift where he can see the dead.

Darrell keeps his ability a secret from his new bride as he probably doesn’t want to scare her away nor does he want to ruin their honeymoon. But when a painting of the children comes alive with the two children crying and asking Darrell to help them. Needless to say, it isn’t long before Darrell has to let Erin in on his secret as she knows something is going on.

I really admired Erin in how she accepted Darrell’s gift without questioning him and especially not thinking he was crazy. Erin wanted to help the children herself.

It wasn’t too hard to figure out what was going on in Scarlet at Crystal River with the children. I mean you know right away that they are ghosts. But I will have to say the circumstances surrounding their death were a complete mystery and there were times where I actually questioned if the children were dead as the characters themselves did. It gave me hope to think that Erin sort of thought that it could remotely be possible for them to still be alive.

Some of the questions I asked myself was are the children really dead? If so how did they die? Was it an accident? Did the children themselves have an accident? Did someone do something to harm the children? Were the children killed? If so who killed them? Were the children abducted? If they were killed what was their motive? If they were killed who did it? Why did they do it?

So, so many questions that kept the pages turning and definitely not fast enough for me. The mystery and suspense surrounding the children alone were enough to keep me hooked.

Scarlet at Crystal River pulled me in deeper and deeper and had me racing to the end to the final climax with this big twist that sorely took me by surprise even though I was half expecting it I was completely blown away. This twist left me with my jaw literally hanging open and in tears.

Scarlet at Crystal River is the first book in the Haunted Shores Mysteries and by Randy Overbeck that I have read. I am definitely going to check out the rest of the Haunted Shores Mysteries.

I would highly recommend Scarlet at Crystal River to any and all fans of mysteries and suspense novels. So one-click your copy of Scarlet at Crystal River for a mind-blowing ghostly mystery story today!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for more than three decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Amazon No. 1 Best Seller, Blood on the Chesapeake and Crimson at Cape May have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”— and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Social Media Handles

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ YouTube

Tik Tok @authorrandyo


$20 Amazon/BN GC

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful review. I'm so glad you loved the book.

Sherry said...

Sounds like a very good book

Stormy Vixen said...

Randy, I enjoyed following the tour and learning about Scarlet at Crystal River, which sounds like a fantastic read for me! Thanks for sharing it with me and I hope the tour was a success! Good luck with your book! Thanks Avid Reader for sharing your review! Have a spectacular holiday season!

Unknown said...

Thanks for following and I hope you like SCARLET