Review: Love Spirits by Diana Cachey, Book One of What Happens In Venice Trilogy

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2 signed copies each of both Love Spirits and Lagoon Lure,

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What Happens In Venice — A Trinity

Book One, Love Spirits

Book Two, Lagoon Lure – coming soon

Book Three, Magic Island – coming soon

REVIEW: Book One, Love Spirits

As an admitted armchair traveler who has not physically ventured to Italy, I was fascinated by the compelling imagery in LOVE SPIRITS, written by an author who knows Venice inside and out. Diana Cachey demonstrates her love affair with the city by creating sensory appeal as well as sharing “secrets” only the locals might know. Much of the story reads like a narrative, adding a “tourist guide” flavor to the pages while weaving an interesting tale of woman who takes a job in the magical city, lured there by ghosts.

Attorney and Interpol expert Louisa Mangotti is puzzled by the odd postcard that arrives in her post. It’s signed “Venetian Ghosts”. She assumes it’s an attempt by her old boyfriend, Matteo, to re-ignite their relationship. Except Matteo still possesses all the bad boy qualities he exhibited first time around and doesn’t seem inclined to change.

Louisa is drawn to the story of the Venetian ghosts and initiates a personal investigation. At the same time, Matteo successfully lures her back into his toxic snare, though honestly, I don’t understand why she finds him attractive. I formed a distinct dislike for his character which grew even more distasteful with each page. Louisa’s disapproving sister, Barbara, a clairvoyant of sorts, decides to intervene but winds up embroiled in a sexy adventure of her own.

Aside from my dislike for Matteo, I found LOVE SPIRITS an interesting ghost story with beautiful details about Venice. The vivid descriptions wrapped around me like a warm blanket, proving to be the highlight of the book. However, I feel less “telling” and more “showing” would have made a world of difference in the development of the characters. The narrative style works wonderfully for a tour guide but failed to engage me emotionally as a reader. Even so, I’m intrigued by what might happen in Book Two and look forward to continuing Louisa and Barbara’s Venetian adventure.

LOVE SPIRITS is the first of a three part saga. Unlike many trilogies which offer a stand alone story in each book, What Happens In Venice is an ongoing tale. Don’t expect closure at the end of Book One.

Love Spiritsvenice1

What Happens In Venice

Book One

Diana Cachey

Genre: Romance/paranormal.

ISBN: 1481031767

ISBN: 9781481031769

Number of pages: 160

Word Count: 40,000

Book Trailers:

Love Spirits — Take One    http://video214.com/play/t6LZ8mFclEqpBCQlb11gGw/s/dark

Love Spirits — ghost story http://video214.com/play/R71iLBUayFB0CJEg02UFkg/s/dark

Among the romantic canals of Venice—and oh so many Italian distractions—can a stunning American lawyer and her psychic sister help the Ghosts of Venice solve a hushed-up crime?

Book Description:

Louisa Mangotti is a gorgeous American lawyer and Interpol expert who, after being offered a job working with the international crime unit in Venice, receives a mysterious postcard from the Venetian Ghosts, the ancient protectors of the Republic. But Louisa assumes her bad-boy ex, Matteo, sent it in a quixotic attempt to gain her attention.  Louisa may have dismissed the ghosts, but the ghosts aren’t quite done with her.

When the bodies of two glassmakers wash up on Murano Island, the cryptic messages persist. Reluctantly, Louisa calls upon Matteo to help decipher the clues. And before she knows it, a flame that was never fully extinguished is rekindled.  Sensing that her sister is in over her head, Barbara Mangotti rushes to the rescue, only to be lured away by two handsome Venetian men.

With time running out, can the two beauties solve a crime that could threaten the city of Venice itself?

Excerpt:

Venice kidnapped her. It stole her breath, it made her weep, and she forgave it. This trip was no different.

Palazzos flanked the Grand Canal as if playing the role of soldiers obedient to the eyes of tourists who passed in public boats, water taxis and gondolas. These old palaces sparkled on water like porcelain figurines on a glass shelf. A soft breeze rolled across Louisa’s cheeks and it rippled the reflections and transformed the scene. Mesmerized by the magic, Louisa missed her boat stop.

No problem, she thought, I’ll find another place for coffee. She refused to drink it alone in her apartment and religiously sipped her brew at one of the little cafes where handsome Venetian men worked. There were many such establishments on her way to police headquarters.   When she arrived a few weeks earlier, American lawyer Louisa Mangotti hoped to spearhead the creation of an essential link between Venice police and the rest of the world. But was she leading the department into the future of global law enforcement as she’d envisioned? No, she sat shackled to a desk where she sorted and translated police data because Interpol sent red alerts and formal requests for information in English or French, not in Italian. Therefore, many unsolved crimes remained ignored in the file drawers of the lagoon city, a thriving metropolis and huge tourist destination. And Louisa? Louisa remained bored in cubicle learning about law and disorder.

According to recent updates to her sister, Louisa was focused on everything but international law enforcement anyway:

Ciao Barbara, Remember that lagoon island said to be full of ghosts where patients with the plague were once sent to die? Well many other haunted places exist in Venice too. I don’t believe in ghosts, not like you do, but I am checking out some haunts. I am checking out Venetian men too.

Because Barbara objected, Louisa promised not to explore the haunted island. But didn’t Barbara object to Louisa going to Venice at all this time? Wasn’t it just like Barbara to try to direct everything, even from afar? How much of the seemingly haunted happenings in Venice could Louisa ignore?  Blame the postcard, thought Louisa. And as she thought it, a loud bell rang out.          Louisa took note. In Italy, it is customary to pause and recall whatever you were thinking when a bell chimes, especially this bell, the one that echoed from the famous bell tower, high above St. Mark’s Square. The massive San Marco bell continued to sound in the serene setting, bang, gong, gong, bang, and it reverberated across the piazza, across the lagoon, to the nearby islands of Murano and Lido. It sounded authoritative and mighty. Every day. For centuries.

venice2Lagoon Lure
What Happens In Venice
Book Two
Diana Cachey

ISBN-13: 978-1500334529
ISBN-10: 1500334529
LCCN: 2014911793

Number of pages: 160
Word Count: 40,000

As Interpol expert Louisa Mangotti is learning, ghosts watch over Venice. Can she trust them—or her ex-lover—when spirits offer confusing clues to solve a double murder in this sexy paranormal mystery?

Book Description:

Lagoon Lure resumes the story of Interpol expert Louisa Mangotti’s Venetian exploits and the paranormal assisted murder investigation she began in Love Spirits.

Still unnerved by the notion that Venetian ghosts are real, Louisa delves further into the deaths of two glassmakers while juggling the lustful manipulations of her ex-lover, Matteo, whose role in the murders grows murkier.

Meanwhile Louisa’s usually shy sister, Barbara, explores her new found sexuality with Venice’s willing men, sharing her adventures with her sister but keeping one particularly mysterious man a secret.

When Louisa’s best friend, “Rouge,” arrives for Carnival to sample its masked men, she complicates the situation further by encouraging the sisters to embrace the pleasures of Venice.

Paranormal clues and apparitions lead Louisa deeper into the lagoon and she is forced to reluctantly enlist Matteo’s support. Can she trust him, or will this ghostly lagoon lure prove deadly?

Excerpt:

Once they reached the dive site, Matteo, ever the expert captain, dropped anchor and secured it. He even politely and patiently walked Barbara through some boat safety issues. After suiting up, Louisa glanced back at Barbara and again saw that faint look of pleasure on her face. Her three-way on Lido did something to that girl, thought Louisa before she rolled back over the side of the boat and into the cold Adriatic waters. She gave the signal to begin their descent.        As Louisa grabbed the rope to pull herself down to the shipwreck, barnacles cut her fingers and small fibers stung her palms. She cursed herself for forgetting her dive gloves. Given the icy water, it was a stupid mistake. She winced from the pain as she pictured her gloves lying dormant on the hearth, where she left them drying after yesterday’s dive, her first ever in the murky waters of the Venice lagoon. Matteo, her dive buddy, was entering the water behind her so she had to move fast down the rope despite the pain in her hands.

Finally her fins hit the wreck and with algae billowing up, she lowered herself down. From extensive research of the vessel, they learned that entry would be easiest at the cargo hold area but in near zero visibility she couldn’t see either the bow or stern. She needed to reorient based on rope slack but Matteo was already descending it. So with little time to waste, she used her injured hands to negotiate the wreck. Silt filtered through her fingers, gently coated her hands and washed across her face. She brushed it off her dive mask, tucking loose strands of blonde hair back into her hood.

She found an open hatch and looked back to check on Matteo before penetrating the wreck. She could barely see him. Matteo’s careless movements had stirred up quite a bit more algae and she began to seriously question her decision to dive with him today.  Yet anticipation and curiosity called her into the wreck anyway. Once inside the enclosed, clouded space, she waited for Matteo and tried to quiet her nerves.

During those few minutes, she felt a rush of nausea. Her intuition urged her not to dive with Matteo, an inexperienced diver and someone who could not be trusted to think soundly on land. Ignoring her intuition, she refused to let it stop her from diving today. It wasn’t the first time she had trusted him to her dismay.        When Matteo joined her inside the wreck, they entered the main cabin where visibility was marginally better. Scouring the sunken boat for details, she recorded it foot by foot by mapping it on her slates.

Barely recognizable broken benches lie next to tables on their sides, earmarks of a once lively galley. The eerie scene reminded her why she loved diving wrecks — their human element.  She thought about the last meal this ship might have served. Fish crackling on the stove with the scent of garlic in the air. Their dive plan was to find the main cabin then separate to search for the bridge where most likely would also be the captain’s quarters. They signaled each other to confirm the plan was on and it was ok to go. She, the more experienced and better-trained diver, would enter a small opening into a confined compartment and she turned to swim toward it. Matteo motioned he’d explore the opposite end, near a large gaping hole in the wreck, an area where you could view the open sea and a school of sardines swirling about.

Matteo had no intention of continuing directly to the bridge and when he was sure Louisa had entered the confined compartment at the opposite end of the ship, he cased the area. His eyes darted around the room, scanning it quickly, his breath slowed and instinctively and continuously he looked around and behind him. Spying some interesting cabinetry and being familiar with boats, he realized he was in the galley, began to look for drawers and instantly spotted one. He struggled for a few seconds to open it then grabbed his knife and swung it ferociously at the drawer until it relented.

Well, well, what wealth was waiting underwater to welcome me, he mused when he discovered the drawer was full of eating utensils made of what appeared to be fine silver.          Not much time, lucky he was good at what he did. Anyone on this boat won’t miss their treasure; he thought and then yanked the drawer out, dumped the contents into his mesh bag and tossed the drawer aside.

Next his attention moved to what would have been the floor. The wreck being slightly tilted on its side, he knew to look for its lowest point, logically knowing that this is where any heavier objects would have come to rest. His sharp vision, trained by years of thieving and fishing, caught a glimpse of sparkle amidst the soot. His hands carefully siphoned through the settled silt and he slowly lifted an old gold chain. He kissed it thinking, my dear darling, I am so sorry you had to sleep here alone all of these years, but now that I found you I will take very good care of you, and he placed it gleefully in a zippered pocket.

A small creature moving in the corner drew his attention. A tiny crab pulled stones and coral pieces one by one into its den, a hole in the wall. He remembered Louisa holed up in a small compartment alone.       At the opposite end of the ship, Louisa had been attempting to move carefully and nervously through several confined cabins much smaller than she had imagined they’d be. It was awful. She pictured the eerie scene, the city of Venice only eighty feet above her, but with visibility and confinement closing in on her, it felt more like being hundreds, even, thousands, of feet at the bottom of the ocean.

Back near the bridge, Matteo spotted what looked to be bones, possibly human bones. He stepped away from them, not out of fear, but out of respect. He was an honest thief; he would never take those off the ship. So he knelt and crossed himself next to their grave, undisturbed but by the changing currents and sea life.

About the Author:

cacheyDiana Cachey is a licensed attorney, published academic, and former adjunct law professor. She also holds a BA in English, and while in law school, she was the first female editor-in-chief of her university’s law review.

The author of the novels Love Spirits and Lagoon Lure, Cachey trained with several New York Times best-selling writers whose sales total more than 70 million books. She has built a social media platform with over one hundred thousand Twitter users, and her popular YouTube channel featuring secret Venice locations has received over five hundred thousand views.

For more than a decade, Cachey has traveled to Venice, the setting of her novels, on extended trips several times a year. The cafés, restaurants, and many other haunts of Venice play a prominent role in her sexy paranormal mystery-romance series about a beautiful American lawyer guided by the Ghosts of Venice in the investigation of a hushed-up crime.

https://www.youtube.com/user/dcachey

https://www.whathappensinvenice.com

@dianacachey

https://www.facebook.com/diana.cachey

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diana-Cachey/153347544749839

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About Debra S. Sanders

Debra is an RV nomad, traveling full time with her husband, dog and cat. She writes, hikes, star gazes and explores myth, lore and curiosities from America's back roads. She also indulges in colorful sunsets and good wine.