Monday, April 15, 2013

Ray's Reviews: M.J. Simon's Dragon Sleep and Shades of Gray

If you're looking for some unusual reading entertainment, you might try two recent novels by Lansing licensed psychologist M.J. Simon.

Both books are a bit on the strange side, with odd circumstances and unexpected endings.

"Dragon Sleep" (Gopublished, $11.99) is a quirky tale that utilizes multi-dimensional universes and focuses on interaction between a devious serial killer, a meek librarian, and a hard-working entrepreneur.

Beth Rinehart is a creative writer and artist who works as a small town librarian. She lives with her mother, avoiding relationships and confrontations.

She has her own make-believe universe, an Enchanted Forest, complete with talking animals, which offers her a comfortable retreat.

Unfortunately, her imaginary world is severely threatened when it interacts with the universe of Zachary Blake, a nasty serial killer, who was her childhood friend.

Blake has his own twisted agenda, leaving dead bodies in his wake. When the action strikes close to home, Beth gets help from a newcomer in town, Quinn Matthews, who's planning on opening up a restaurant across from the library.

There's a touch of romance and lots of challenging action. Distinctive, uncommon creatures abound, leading to an unexpected conclusion.

Simon's other book, "Shades of Gray" (Gopublished, $11.99) has a similar title to the multimillion copy bestselling series, but is distinctly different. It's 49 shades lighter, and doesn't offer sexuality or bondage themes.

It showcases on a true-crime writer who has unusual experiences involving an old house and much more. Ghostly apparitions abound, with unsettling situations and an unnerving, unpredictable ending.

Simon, who lives in Laingsburg, is the author of four children's books as well as an earlier novel, "Shadow's Embrace," which was set in a small Upper Peninsula town.

She was previously employed as a forensic pathologist in Kent County. Simon is currently collaborating on a project with a self-proclaimed ghost hunter who's been chasing ghosts and other paranormal events for over 40 years.

Simon is working on creating a series of fictional novels about a private investigator that specializes in paranormal investigations.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

Find books by great local authors (and more!)
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was published by the Lansing State Journal on April 14, 2013.

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