Ghost of a Chance
by Kate March (aka Kate MacAlister)

Obsidian, 2008. ISBN 978-0-451-22324-1.
Reviewed by Sharon Wildwind
Posted on 02/24/2008

Fiction: Mystery; Fiction: Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy; Fiction: Romance

Sometimes, in order to enjoy a book, it's necessary to suspend disbelief. For Ghost of a Chance, I'd recommend tying disbelief to a construction crane, and hauling it up about 13 stories, where it can dangle overhead while you enjoy this completely delightful mystery.

Karma Marx cleans houses for a living. Only there's not a mop or a spray bottle of vinegar to be seen. Her work is a little more specialized. She rids houses of otherworld spirits. According to the instructions given to her as a transmortis anomaly exterminator, she's supposed to banish intruders to the Akashic Plain, where they will suffer perpetual torment. But Karma, being a kind soul, has only been able to bring herself to impose the banishment once or twice, to really nasty beings who had it coming.

She sneaks the other miscreants home with her. She has an obsessive-compulsive Russian domovoi (a house spirit). She keeps an agoraphobic Roman goddess of door hinges and thresholds in the pantry, a vegetable spirit in the lettuce keeper, a bunch of imps who should be in the silver drawer but aren't—and a husband who will hit the roof if he finds any of these unwanted house guests.

Said sleazy husband makes Karma an offer: rid a house he's just bought of its current infestations (it's reputed to be the most haunted house in the Olympic Peninsula) and he won't contest the divorce that Karma so desperately wants. Simple enough, except . . .

The two-hour job turns into a lock-down. A malevolent (or is he?) poltergeist named Adam Dirgesinger, seals Karma, a sulky Goth teen-ager, and assorted spirits and humans, in the house. They're all going to be there for twelve hours—except the ones who turn up dead, of course.

Ghost of a Chance is part locked-house mystery, part romance, and part screamingly funny look at a world where Karma's lettuce bin talks back to her. By the end of the book, you'll be willing to believe that Karma's world is the real one and ours is ho-hum by comparison. But take heed: this book is like popcorn. You won't be able to stop with just one Kate Marsh/Katie MacAlister/Katie Maxwell.

Kate Marsh is the mystery nom de pen for multi-published, best-selling Katie MacAlister. She publishes in paranormal, other worlds, historical romances, contemporary romances. Under the name of Katie Maxwell, she has an enjoyable line of young-adult paranormals. Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest and online. Visit her website.

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