A Ghostly Christmas Present

Rated 4.25/5 based on 4 reviews
It's hard to beat being thrown in an out-of-state jail on a trumped up charge as a Christmas present, but detective Clarke Lantham loves a challenge. So when he calls up his brother for help with bail, he thinks he's prepared for the ordeal of spending a holiday weekend with relatives who put the "strange" back in "estranged."
That was his first mistake. More

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About J. Daniel Sawyer

J. Daniel Sawyer is a hat-wearing, obsessive-compulsive autodidact attempting to write his way out of the loony bin.
A self-aggrandizing science fiction and fantasy author who publishes lurid stories and, worse, the occasional popular philosophy article, he is also a very minor authority on Open Source media production (a topic on which he is, unfortunately, published regularly in LinuxJournal).
In addition to his wanton abuse of the printed word, he unscrupulously uses his decade-long experience as an audio and video producer with his painfully florid and gritty writing style to create deeply immersive audio universes. This habit, which he indulges in public, has garnered him seven Parsec nominations and helped him make his first professional fiction and philosophy sales (a trend which, for the good of the world at large, we can only hope abates soon). Meanwhile, his growing, rabid fan-base is currently plotting to imprison him and force him to produce endless new literary abominations for their amusement. We can only hope they succeed.
Should you be so inclined, you can communicate with this shady character, as well as find podcasts, articles, and other literary abominations at http://www.jdsawyer.net

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Reviews

Review by: Candy Beauchamp on July 18, 2012 :
I grabbed this one to read while sitting in a waiting room and looking for something light and quick to read. Wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into, but since it's July in Austin, I thought anything that might have snow in it would be a welcome reprieve from the heat.

What a fun and well told story by Mr. Sawyer! It delivered on what I expected and was so much more. This was my first book starring Lantham and I'll be looking for others for certain. This is a true whodunit mystery/thriller told by a private detective who gets himself into way more hot water than he intended. The writing was very well done, it wasn't overly descriptive and didn't bog down in places. It was a delightful story of family, drama, mystery with little bits of humor thrown in for good measure.

The editing was well done, I didn't see anything in there that made me want to cringe. It was long enough to take me a few sittings to read through, but not too long to drag out. For the story it told, I think the length was absolutely perfect.

This book is recommended for thriller/mystery fans and folks looking for something light to read. Well done.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Candy Beauchamp on July 18, 2012 :
I grabbed this one to read while sitting in a waiting room and looking for something light and quick to read. Wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into, but since it's July in Austin, I thought anything that might have snow in it would be a welcome reprieve from the heat.

What a fun and well told story by Mr. Sawyer! It delivered on what I expected and was so much more. This was my first book starring Lantham and I'll be looking for others for certain. This is a true whodunit mystery/thriller told by a private detective who gets himself into way more hot water than he intended. The writing was very well done, it wasn't overly descriptive and didn't bog down in places. It was a delightful story of family, drama, mystery with little bits of humor thrown in for good measure.

The editing was well done, I didn't see anything in there that made me want to cringe. It was long enough to take me a few sittings to read through, but not too long to drag out. For the story it told, I think the length was absolutely perfect.

This book is recommended for thriller/mystery fans and folks looking for something light to read. Well done.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lucie Le Blanc on Dec. 29, 2011 :
Once I began reading, I couldn't stop myself. That was my first incursion in the Clarke Lantham universe. And it won't be my last. The story and the storytelling were brilliantly done. The way Mr Sawyer plays with words is delightful even, or because, it is somber. ;)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Scott Roche on Dec. 30, 2010 :
This is as noir as the previous entry, so if you like it, you’ll like this. This one is a bit more fun than the first, though no less dark or edgy. I read it all in one sitting and it kept me going until a quarter to one in the morning. If that’s not enough to push you in the direction of buying this, then let me see what I can do to nudge you along. In addition to being a modern noir, this is also a classic murder mystery with a twist. He makes a number of nods to Agatha Christie and/or Sir Doyle, but as with the classic noir of “And Then She Was Gone”, he adds modern sensibilities.

Dan takes the time to walk his readers through the processes Clarke uses to solve the crime, though never at the expense of pacing. There’s a dash of action, a dollop of sex (handled with humor and taste), and more than one laugh out loud moment. The only thing that really hurt the story for me were a few sections of prose early on that I had to re-read a time or two for clarity. I think $2.99 for a story that comes in at over thirty thousand words and provided me with a few hours of pure entertainment is money well spent. I give this story four and a half out of five bloody icicles.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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