Sunday, November 30, 2014

The After House by Michael Phillip Cash - His Best Novel Yet!


http://www.cshwhalingmuseum.org/museum-store.html
"Stern, all! Stern for your lives!" the
captain shouted, knowing Moses was
crying out the same command on the
longboats. He watched the giant's tail twist
in the water,




the resulting waves causing the boats to
be knocked around like toys. Eli considered
the whale's head, bobbing in the water.
It was huge, more than half the size of the
whole torso, and would yield mounds of
spermaceti, the most profitable part of
the whale for its use in candles. What
a prize to end the trip...He could give
Sarah what she craved--attention. He
smiled with satisfaction. Perhaps now
her tone with him would not be sharp--
as edged with disappointment. Her
complaints dominated all the letters
from home...
~~~

Eli was there even before John Jones came and expanded the whaling operations... They needed and used all parts of the whales' bodies to keep them alive and well.  But Eli, even after he was married, loved the adventure of whaling. He had missed the first child's being born and had stayed home, doing short hauls for awhile, but then he scheduled a longer trip...

And by the time he had come home again, after losing his entire ship and crew except a young boy and himself, who he'd tied to The After House, his family were gone--dead from cholera that had come from those who'd travel to Cold Spring for the burgeoning work that had also brought filth and disease...

Eli had lived in his home since then, new 
occupants coming and going, with the last having stayed companionably with Eli for many years...until he was older and had begun to talk about his ghost... They had put him in a home for the aged at that time...

Now Eli's home had new occupants--a young woman with a girl child--and she could see him! But Eli maintained that he was captain of his ship and, really, had forgotten much about his life, it had been so long. But the women reminded him of somebody, if he could only remember...


The After House
By Michael Phillip Cash



Actually, Eli was not the only spirit living in the house, but the other two were really there for Eli. One was an angel there to earn her wings and the other her guide... Seems even with ghosts, they still have free will to stay on earth as they wish...LOL... They had been patiently waiting for Eli to remember and then want to join his family...

It was now 2014 and, as mentioned, Eli had forgotten much of his former life until the two females showed up in his house...

Remy was the apple of his parents' eyes and when she divorced her husband Scott, they immediately offered their home. But Remy needed to be alone and try to move ahead as a single parent. Scott had already married the woman he'd been seeing and had children. He had visiting rights with his daughter with Remy, Olivia, but it soon seemed like Olivia was not happy while she was there...

Remy had started teaching yoga and soon had developed a growing clientele and was happy with her new home... except for a mural that wasn't exactly to her liking, but was a condition of rental that it be retained...

She loved the small parlor, with its wide, planked floors and permanent smell of woodsmoke. An interesting mural covered an entire wall--a seascape with a whaler who was known to have shipped out of the local harbor. Not exactly her taste, but it was a condition of her rental that she not remove it. She wouldn't dream of it, especially because of Olivia's fascination with the bearded sea captain bleakly watching his ragtag crew manning a whaleboat.
Captain Eli, as he was called, stood on the top deck as sailors chased a great sperm whale, their longboat being pulled through the foamy waves. He gazed intently, his face giving the impression of unhappiness, while the crew seemed oblivious to it all. It did take some getting usede to, but it was a piece of Americana, and Remy respected that...

Actually, the former occupant who was a painter had worked with his ghost until the mural reflected what had happened on the day the Captain had lost his ship and crew. One tiny occurrence throughout the book was that various people would see the Captain sometimes, smiling or angry.... So perhaps the painting was haunted as well...

And Captain Eli was known to allow his feelings to show. A gift to Remy and Olivia had set him off as not being appropriate for a Captain's home and he grew so angry that he tore up the house! It was only Olivia that knew who had done it, and she had scolded him! LOL  But that wasn't the last time that Remy saw somebody at the house and then somebody had tried to push her car off the road! The police had been contacted, but there was little evidence...

Remy's mother was already looking for a new man for Remy, but interestingly, even though she was upset with her mother and sure she was not ready to start dating again, she was quite taken with Hugh, who happened to be the town mayor...and, soon, someone who Remy knew was "the one..."

Soon Hugh, Remy's parents who brought her a dog, and even Eli was working hard to protect Remy from being further hurt.  And, oh, by the way, Hugh has a ghost at his home too! And, maybe you'll guess who it was... for he was so happy to see Eli again...


Protective ghosts and angels while a real-live criminal tries to do harm to the new occupant of the Captain's home... At first, I was reminded of the Ghost and Mrs. Muir but Cash has taken us way beyond that beautiful story and presented a spirit-filled ghost mystery that not only has romance, but has two couples! Remy and Hugh... and Eli as he remembers...

Lovely story. A fairly simple mystery that just adds a bit more depth to a sad tale of being unable to forgive yourself, even after death... And a chance for two soulmates who find each other, even without angelic help! Cool premise and follow through... Highly recommended.


GABixlerReviews






Award winning and best-selling author Michael Phillip Cash has eight novels to date. Stillwell won Honorable Mention for The Book of the Year Foreword Review 2014. Brood X was The Book of the Year for Readers Views and Rebecca's Reads. Cash loves writing about Long Island, its rich history and ghostly inhabitants. He currently lives on the North Shore with his wife and two children.