As I look out my study window I see a bully of a storm marching. Yikes!
An uncontrollable twist of fate separates the two lovers and leads Andrew to wander again. He finally settles in a small town in eastern Idaho where he encounters the notorious enchantress, Iris Winkle. However, her ex-husband has placed a fiendish curse on Iris and Andrew soon finds himself trapped within the enchantment. Remembering the lesson LaRae taught him may be his only salvation, but will it be enough to save him from the perilous spell.What I Think: I was able to review Mr. Peterson's first novel Thumb Flagging (Read my Review). Thumb Flagging was a wonderful adventure book so when I was contacted to review his second book I was glad to read it.
The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai by Jerome Peterson
Published by: Eloquent
Book Provided by the Author
Publication Date: February 21st, 2010
Format: Paperback, 310 Pages
Andrew Sharpai is haunted by the life he lost. Tormented by the lose of his love LaRae and his glamorous lifestyle in Vegas he flees to Idaho. There he spends his time either lost in a bottle or cooking at Denny's in a monotonous routine. Eventually Andrew realizes something has to give and he decides that perhaps a hobby to take him out of himself would be a good idea. Remembering a story LaRae had told him about Jesus being a gardener, he decides to sink his hands into mother earth and perhaps grow something. The winter is long and cold, but come spring he sees evidence of the new life he helped to bring forth and he is now bitten by the proverbial bug all thanks to Harry and his nursery. Racing back to tell Harry the good news he is drawn to a young woman working at the nursery, Iris Winkle. With her pentagram necklace and her freckled though shockingly scarred face, Andrew sees someone worth living for. His courtship of Iris soon starts, undeterred by her visible scars and her young daughter, Lily. But soon Andrew hears the rumors about Iris and her witchy ways. While most say that Iris is evil and her ex Devon even more so, Andrew just can't see Iris as anything but a good witch. Soon things start to get weird though and Andrew can't help but listen to the townsfolk and think maybe they were right. Could a woman with a pet crow named Elijah Corbu and an ex capable of bringing horrifying sounds on the wind really be the answer Andrew has been looking for since LaRae's death? Embracing Iris and her life they decide to flee Devon and his influences and desires, one of which is Iris's daughter Lily. Moving to Colorado they think that they have moved beyond Devon's grasp. But Devon's might is stronger than they ever thought and this time he isn't playing games. Death follows and Andrew has to make many choices, hoping that he chooses the right ones.
Jerome Peterson's characters are on a journey of discovery. They are constantly trying to evolve into better people. But he has a knack of showing how hard these choices are. You can't choose who you fall in love with, but you can question it. To have lost a love it is even harder to embrace new love when it comes. Andrew never stops loving LaRae because of Iris and Lily, he is constantly struggling with it. He is haunted by all that LaRae was. But with the added element of witchcraft, we not only have a haunting of the heart, we have a physical and psychological haunting as well. The way that Jerome writes his environments and characters they have a way of leaping off the page, wherein you end up fully inhabiting their world. You believe in the magic and mystery of this world, whether or not you believe in magic in your day to day life. The struggle of the trio daily fighting with the unknown forces propels you through the book, making you detest the idea of placing it aside till you know the outcome. With the nebulous forces against them and Devon's designs on Lily, as well as the aspects of The Black Mass, I was strongly reminded of Rosemary's Baby and other fare of the sixties and seventies. This book has that iconic feel of good versus evil played out on a small scale with the same suspense that keeps you rushing to the end. Fans of the ongoing search and struggle of man as well as those who need a little mystery should pick this book up today, though it will be harder to put it down.
I was delighted when Jerome Peterson contacted me recently and broke the news that he had another book published. His first book Thumb Flagging was a glorious tale about hitch hiking in the 70’s. I found it a nostalgic work that took me back to my youth.
I knew nothing about his new book other than the title The Haunting Of Andrew Sharpai until it arrived in my mail box. If I was expecting a continuation of Thumb Flagging I was way off base. This book is a very different animal. It is a book that has several facets to it. In part is a love story, in part it is a study of human nature and introspection, and in part it is a paranormal thriller. This might sound like a strange combination yet Jerome Peterson carries it off flawlessly.
We meet Andrew Sharpai in Las Vegas, he is cook by trade and a nomad by circumstance. His life seems to consist of a series of failed romantic interludes that all ended in such a devastating fashion that a change of city and state were called for.
Andrew has just ended a grueling shift, too tired to go home and change clothes he opts to sit in the hotel bar and find some solace in the bottom of a glass. Instead, he encounters a strikingly good looking black lady LaRae DuFont, a much sought after Las Vegas dancer.
A love affair blossoms between this unlikely pair. I have to say that I was really impressed with the angles that Jerome Peterson explored in this segment of the book. Even though we live in the 21st century mixed race relationships are still a subject of discussion. My mother was by no means a racist, yet I can remember a conversation we had when I was about 15, “I don’t care who you marry, as long as it is a white girl”.
Andrew Sharpai’s happiness is short lived, a fatal car crash ends the relationship. Vegas now has too many bad memories and our nomadic hero moves once again.With no clear destination Andrew arrives in Pocatello, Idaho.
Lost in a sea of drunken depression he fritters away his remaining money. Driven by need rather than desire he takes a job way beneath his capabilities, a line cook at he local Denny’s. It does however mark the beginnings of a new Andrew Sharpai.
His world changes once again when he encounters Iris Winkle. With facial scars she is well known in the area as a satanic witch. Is she? Or is this a case of people just creating a legend?
You might think that I have given away too much of the plot but I have not. I have merely summarized the first 30 pages! There are another 270 left for you explore!
The Haunting Of Andrew Sharpai is well worth reading. I am beginning to get the sense that Jerome Peterson is a name that is going to start appearing on those coveted best seller lists. He writes with authority and knowledge. This is not a novel that has just been thrown together, it has been skilfully crafted.
I am no expert on the use of language, but I do know when it is well done, and this book is a clear example. I will be interviewing Jerome in the near future and I have to say that I am looking forward to it.
You can order your copy of The Haunting Of Andrew Sharpai from Amazon by clicking the link above.
What is Thumb Flagging? In a word, Hitch Hiking. In many ways a long lost art. As a teenager in the 60’s and early 70’s it was my preferred mode of transportation. In the summer a couple of us would hit the tarmac heading off to one music festival or another. A bedroll, a two man tent, and the wind in our hair. The funny this was, we never had any money, yet somehow we never went hungry or thirsty. Oh the glorious days of being a hippie!
It is funny how times change, when my kids became teens I would have become unglued if they had repeated my performances. Is it that I have changed, or it that the world has changed? I for one would never dream of thumbing anywhere today.
Jerome Peterson does not give us many clues as the the time period that Thumb Flagging is set in, but I am guessing it is sometime in the 1970’s. As soon as I laid eyes on the cover I has a feeling that this was going to be a book that I was going to enjoy. In fact I picked it up and told my wife I was just going outside to smoke a cigarette and glance at the first couple of pages. Well 4 hours and 220 pages later I came back in. “That was a long cigarette”, my wife sarcastically remarked!
Our hero is Jay Patterson, a mild mannered young man, who learns the joy of the open road from his nomadic drifter friend Willy Jacobs. As the pair travel, Jaybird, as Willy christens him, learns the art and myths of conquering the ‘concrete diva’. What a great term ‘concrete diva’, it is these little phrases that are scattered throughout the book that really drew me in.
Jaybirds first journey is from Phoenix, Arizona, to Malibu, California, their destination, to look at Bob Dylan’s house, and maybe even meet the great man. This odyssey is more than a mere road trip, it is a journey of self discovery, and discovery of others. Nothing quite beats the intimacy of strangers. People tell you the most bizarre personal things in the knowledge that they will never meet you again.
Hungry and in need of a place to stay Willy reaches deep into his ‘roadsmithing’ bag of tricks and introduces Jaybird to the world of the church mission. A place where a hot meal and a warm bed can be found. When I read this part of the book, I reflected back to an occasion in 1970. I had Thumb Flagged some 200 miles in order to see one of my then (and now) favorite musicians Al Stewart, or, as he is known in our household $90 Al (leave a comment and I will explain). I had enough money to buy a ticket for the weekend festival, but none for food! I spent the weekend alternately being fed bean stew by the Hari Krishna people, and being saved by some kind hearted Christian Youth group who at least had meat in their meals!
Willy is a born nomad, and takes off for Maine. Jaybird, bored with Phoenix and having roots and responsibilities, decides to take to the road once more, this time to find the wandering Willy. Along the way Jaybird finds a kindred spirit in Chloe, a young lady who offers no past, an enigmatic present, and an uncertain future.
To share more of the plot would spoil this richly satisfying read. I will say that there are some subplots, that are interesting, and as a retired road warrior myself, I once again found myself floating back to my own experiences.
Thumb Flagging makes for a wonderful read, Jerome Peterson has done an outstanding job on the character and plot development. We meet the young neophyte Jay Patterson, and end knowing the worldly wise Jaybirdy!