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Nolan's Pop Culture Review--now in our third calendar year
PCR # 124  (Vol. 3, No. 32)  This edition is for the week of August 5--11, 2002.

Murder on the Woo-Woo Express by Patty G. Henderson

La Floridiana
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Movie Review
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--------------------------- Haunting news and briefs REALMS OF THE SUPERNATURAL AND PARANORMAL
Hey, lovers of ghosties and ghoulies, there is a new chat room for supernatural/paranormal mysteries. Realms of the Supernatural and Paranormal is hosted by Netera, who has been hosting many other chats with authors of horror, mystery and romance. Unfortunately, the chat room is accessible to AOL members only. So if you are an AOL member and would like to meet and chat with your favorite woo woo writers, join Netera on Tuesday nights, 9-10 PM EST, at the Books Community at AOL. For more information, contact Netera at: Netera@aol.com

Author Jaqueline Girdner, writing under the pen name of Claire Daniels, will be launching a new paranormal series this December 2002 under the Berkley Prime Crime imprint. The first book in the series is BODY OF INTUITION. Here is something from Jaqueline's newsletter about her new series:
   In December, Jaqueline Girdner will become Claire Daniels and will introduce a new sleuth, Cally Lazar. Cally is a medical intuitive. What do medical intuitives do? They heal people by looking into their energy fields. So how does Cally's healing gifts get her mired in murder? Let Cally explain it to you herself in an excerpt from Chapter One of BODY OF INTUITION.....
   I'm an energy worker, and I don't mean for a utilities company. Some people call me a medical intuitive, but I try to keep the word "medical" out of my own description. It's too close to "legal" and I'm a recovering attorney. I even go to a twelve step program to ensure I never practice law again. So, once I quit law, I started doing massage for a living full time, your basic Swedish/Esalen massage. And as I was doing massage, I began to see things, auras mostly. And I began to feel the energy flows in the body. Some of the auras seemed wrong to me, some of the energy flows seemed blocked, and it bugged me. So I started playing around, maybe taking a massive red blob of color around the liver and imagining it transforming into crystalline light, or imagining energy flowing through the arms and out the fingertips where it had been blocked. And my clients started feeling better. It was wonderful, but it was scary too. In fact, it scared me into learning more about what I was doing. I ended up taking as many classes on alternative healing as I could absorb. And I kept seeing and feeling and people kept getting better......
   Cally was used to "seeing things" in the form of energy that she used to help her clients. But she never expected to hear voices. Not until her client's dead husband told her he didn't commit suicide. He was murdered.

I can't wait to check this book out. Look for it this December. BODY OF INTUITION by Claire Daniels.

Are you house hunting? If you are, you're in luck. The Express will be a trip to two open houses this month. Haunted houses, of course. This August issue was one of my favorites to put together because anything with a haunted house in it is a real treat for me. You couldn't figure that out from my own supernatural mystery, THE BURNING OF HER SIN?

On this trip we've got an older classic and a new offering that will really scare you. And we've also got a new reviewer who will be doing a large portion of reviews for the column, Teri Davis. She did a marvelous job on the Jim Butcher series last issue. THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR is a creepy classic by Anne Rivers Siddons. It's still available as a paperback reprint. Psychological or real hauntings? Real. Teri also reviews a newer book, FIVE MILE HOUSE. This book is truly an eclectic mix of supernatural elements. Both are worth the read and both should be available at your local library or bookstore.

We also have very interesting news in our Haunting News and Briefs. Take your time and enjoy reading about a new paranormal series and a new chat room for supernatural/paranormal mysteries.

Until next month,
Patty G. Henderson

Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Simon and Schuster, hardcover

If there is such a thing as a sacred, blessed place, wouldn't it make sense that there could also be places that aren't sacred or blessed? If a house had tragic occurrences between the inhabitants would you tell the new owners of the house if you were the next door neighbor? Would you chance your reputation by telling the new owners and others that there seems to be something evil in the house? Would you destroy the house, and or yourself, in order to save someone else from the possibility of having to have the house take over the people?

If some things bring out the best in people, wouldn't it make sense then that some things also bring out the worse? What if this is the house next-door to you? What if you actually witness your friends and yourself changing and showing your worse attributes? Would you move? Would you burn down the house?

The problems in this book are all about this house and how it destroys the people that have interactions with and around the house. The main characters are the next-door neighbors who witness the incidents in the development of the house. Even the architect who built the house says, "Itís a greedy house. I takes. It takes the best."

The neighbors, Colquette and Walter explain, "We think that it operates by isolating the . . . the most important things in peopleís lives, their vulnerabilities, and turning them around and using them to destroy. We think it needs that sort of primal vitality for sustenance." I kept wondering why Colquette and Walter just didn't close their curtains on that side of their house. I know I would have and would have avoided it at all costs. Even though the book is not new, it is still a good, even though depressing read especially if you happen to have a new house built next-door to you.

Reviewed for Murder on the Woo Woo Express by Teri Davis

Author: Karen Novak
Bloomsbury, hardcover

This is an intertwining of two lives in two different time periods. One happened over a hundred years ago in which a mother supposedly killed her children and then herself. The other regards a policewoman that kills a child molester. These two tragic women are drawn together by a historical society that notices that the policewoman could be a twin of the original murderess. The town then entices the policewoman's husband to restore this house to its original form. I think a logical person would quit and get far away from this area once the resemblance between the two women was noticed. Obviously, this family sees this as unusual and just chooses to ignore it. The town itself either is part and supportive of the Wellington family or a member and supporter of Wicca. These two have had a silent war since the original family battles of over one-hundred years ago that certainly created a town full of secrets and gossip. The book leaves the reader constantly wondering how the two stories are going to meet and what element of supernatural will develop. I found the most supernatural part being in that a building could be evil especially if the cornerstone is made with sacrificial parts in the cement such as blood, fat, and milk. Supposedly in the original house the cornerstone contained a sacrificed mother and child. Well, if a church can be considered sacred and good, why should a house not be considered evil in the same way?

I had difficulty with the main character, Leslie. This is a woman that went through a major emotional crisis in her life because of her being a caring mother. Throughout the story she is neglectful and disinterested as a mother and wife. She leaves her two daughters constantly and never seems to come back to them or to interact with them. The ten-year-old is always baby-sitting the four-year-old. What I find almost supernatural is that these girls never fight, Leslie hardly ever fixes a meal and she never has to pick up or do laundry. Also, what is strange is that the husband is understanding, overworked, and accepting of her lack of interest in him and the girls.

The story is constantly moving as is the main character. I found myself reading this book faster and faster in that I could not predict what would develop next. This is a good page-turner I would recommend it, but not to someone who is in an emotional crisis with young daughters.

Reviewed for Murder on the Woo Woo Express by Teri Davis

Email: Patty G. Henderson

The book reviews of "The House Next Door" and "Five Mile House" are ©2002 by Teri Davis. "Haunting news and briefs" is composed by and ©2002 by Patty G. Henderson. All contents of "Murder on the Woo-Woo Express" are ©2002 by Patty G. Henderson.   Webpage design and all graphics this page (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova ©2002.   All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova