Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Skelton Key
Author: Jeff LaFerney
Reviewed by Fran Lewis 
One young man has extraordinary powers that allow him to control the thoughts and minds of others. As the story opens Tanner Thomas is on the court and meets one young man on the opposing team whose methods are anything but sportsman like. Clay Thomas, his father is watching from the stands, as Tanner seems distracted and not focused on what his goal is during the game. One sentence would change it all as Tanner goes up close and personal in Newton’s face and the entire direction and result of the game changes. Diagnosed with special powers that he uses to control the actions and thoughts of others and his father have this unique and special bond. Clay attempting for explore telekinesis, mind control and telepathy helps guide him along the way. But, things were altered when Clay meets Erika Payne and learns about the disappearance of her husband Adrian in a tragic train accident. Adrian Payne was not the best husband or person in this world. Hiring Roberto Gomez was a favor to Roberto’s wife Stacy who Adrian had more than a friendly interest. When Adrian disappeared after the train crashes his son Logan reverted deeper into his shell, his wife was happier and the mystery surrounding his disappearance unsolved. So, when Dr. Zander in his own way manipulates Clay to meet Ericka and Logan he hopes to not only use Clay and his powers to find out what might have happened to Adrian but maybe do a little matchmaking too. What neither Clay or Sander realize is that Erika is no stranger to Clay. 
Imagine having a super brain that can move objects held by others, control their thoughts, actions and what the other person reads. As things fall into play Tanner agrees that his father should help Erika, go caving with her and along with him, hopefully solve the mystery of Adrian’s disappearance and help Logan too. Clay seems to have lost faith in himself, finding closure after his wife’s death and hopefully will use his extraordinary powers to aid someone else. Author Jeff LaFerney delves deep into the mysteries of the mind, ESP, telekinesis, mind control and much more as he explains how this works and the wonders of the brain. 

Erika Payne seems to be every man’s dream girl. After Adrian’s disappearance she seems to be thriving better. Her son Logan, although handling certain situations seems to be locked in his own inner world not sharing his thoughts with anyone. Roberto Gomez is a wonderful husband and father and has been called in by the Railroad Company after another break in at the depot. Then things begin to come to light as Erika meets Clay after so many years and they begin to bond. Clay rather than hiding his abilities uses them to get to know her and tells Erika the truth about his extraordinary abilities and Tanner’s too. Erika uses her feminine wiles and things begin to heat up in the cool cave as he joins her for a caving expedition. But, there is much more to this story as the author lets the reader in on just what kind of businessman man Adrian was, the schemes he used to gain control of others and what his partner was doing that allowed him to get away with blackmail, embezzling and much more. Mortonson might have been his partner but sometimes people pay Paul in order as the expression goes to pay Peter. When he gets caught he becomes more creative and as some people behind those prison bars today found out, double books might bring more than double trouble. So, who is behind the break ins at the depot? Why are all of the items ransacked and yet the furniture replaced where Adrian would have liked it? Could the intruder be a ghost with a special message that no one seems to understand? Parapsychology, a supernatural science that could be the underlying formula to help find out who and what is really behind the break ins and Adrian’s disappearance. Can a police chief, one ghost, one man named Clay and one young teen solves the mystery? Can Clay really trust Dr. Zander? Why don’t he open up to him? Will working with Erika change things and give him back the faith in life he lost when Jessie was murdered? This remains to be seen as I continue my review of Skeleton Key.

Trust, not an easy thing for Clay but one he just might learn as he and Erika venture into the cave as he begins to learn what happens when you flounder in the dark, not knowing what path to follow and hoping to come out in the light. Then, Clay and Tanner go to lunch and something changes everything. One vision would bring the events to follow into focus as Tanner sees the future and understands what happened in the past. What would one picture on Erika’s office have to do with where Adrian might be buried, the break- INS and the hope for Erika’s son and herself? Why would this picture be calling out to him and how would he use his powers to convince the police to help them? As the puzzle starts to form and the pieces are beginning to fit they try and enlist the help of Marshall Mortonson who declines. Telekinesis, moving objects with his mind, mind control, ESP, controlling thoughts of others and much more are the basis of what Clay and Tanner can do and hopefully use for the good of helping Erika and the town solve a serious mystery and possibly a murder. Picturing the burial and the skeletal remains in his mind alerts Tanner that there is much more to this mystery and the secret behind the picture. As Clay is looking directly at the picture he begins to hear a voice that is trying to lead him in the right direction. However, all the clues point to horses and different expressions people use related to them. Just what is this ghost trying to convey and why did everyone hate him? Just what rotten things did he do to people and how would Logan and Erika feel when the truth is revealed?

Imagine some men digging up grave but not because they chose to. Imagine someone manipulating his or her thoughts and actions in order to solve a mystery. Cool isn’t it. Wouldn’t it be nice if every police force had a Clay and Tanner as backup? As the events of the train wreck are brought to light questions are formed many question marks arise. What really happened that night? Who buried Adrian and why was the body hidden with the horses? Where was the body before it was buried? Why was Logan, who hated his father so upset when he learned of his death? What will Adrian’s ghost do to lead them to the answers they need? What does the saying one better deed mean and ease the pain? What is the significance of the Skeleton Key? How would that help them find the answers? What would it open? As the suspects mount up one young man seems to be hiding something that might break it all wide open. What does Logan remember that he is not telling about the crash? Why is he the only one that is upset over his father’s death? Why did Adrian hate his own son? Can a ghost lead everyone to the culprit? Just wait and see what happens and read the startling ending of this outstanding novel.

Suspects brought in for questioning. Clues beginning to fall into place. Skeleton uncovered. Keys in many different hands. So, let’s analyze this so that we can come to some conclusion. But, don’t think that I am going to tell you who did it and what really happened to Adrian. You see, he’s been haunting the Depot for years and will scare, hurt and if necessary terrorize anyone who gives away too much of the plot. He was an embezzler, rapist, mean guy, rotten father, cheating husband and awful business partner. All around nice guy some would sarcastically say. No one really cared about his death or that he was missing for seven years. As Clay and Hopper uncover the truth with Tanner’s help they learn more than they bargain for and the spotlight is placed on several live bodies and one skeleton. Who killed Adrian? (I told you not to dare tell.) Why was he killed? (You better not tell or I will haunt you too.) The medical examiner claimed the crash killed him. Adrian: Am I right? You claim Heart Attack?  (You got that right). But, you know he’s a liar and won’t give it all away. Neither will I. Secrets revealed. Truths heard. Several surprises come to light and many lives will be changed. There are more skeletons uncovered in many different closets than the bones in his body, which might not wind up where he hoped. Characters that are well developed and well defined. A plot that is fast paced, easy to follow but an ending that will mystify the reader and keep you guessing until the very last word is read. Tanner and Clay father and son. Logan and Erika mother and son. Two men with extraordinary powers. Mind control, precognition, telekinesis and so much more. Let’s hope author Jeff LaFerny brings them back to try and solve more crimes with one police Chief named Hopper who is really unique and quite the opposite of most.  (Okay: so what really happened to me. The reviewer won’t tell. You better get your own copy of Skelton Key if you want to find out what lies beneath the bones.) One great author. One great plot. Watch out: Jeff LaFerney is the new up and coming mystery writer about to rise to the top.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer and Adrian Payne: I concur!

We shall give this book: FIVE GOLD SKELETON KEYS



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