BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bea Reviews Beyond Belief by Helen Smith

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Series: Emily Castle Mysteries #2
Format Read: Kindle book
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

When a famed psychic predicts a murder will occur at a seaside paranormal conference, budding sleuth Emily Castles is recruited as a “future crimes investigator” to stop the dastardly deed before it occurs. While tensions rise between believers in science, the supernatural, and the spiritual at the conference, Emily must use old-fashioned detective work to track the killer among a colorful cast of attendees which includes psychics, fortune-tellers, and religious cult members. Combining humor, horror, and British cream tea, Smith brings readers a satisfying and suspenseful new adventure featuring intrepid young sleuth Emily Castles.

Bea's Thoughts:

The topic of this book intrigued me; a paranormal conference but a serious, scientific one? And then there's a murder? Add in that I'd heard good things about Ms. Smith and I couldn't pass this up.

 Despite my enthusiasm, the first 40% or so was a struggle. It was all set up, meeting characters, learning about them, and setting up the groundwork for the eventual murders. The author's style also took a while for me to warm up to; it was dry at times. Additionally, it never made sense to me why Emily was hired. She's an office worker who has fond memories of her dead dog which apparently made her qualified. As it turned out, she was observant and detail oriented, qualities which enabled her to figure out who the killer was and why.

"That's the best kind of investigating," said Emily modestly. "Using your eyes and observing what you see."

"Ah yes!" said Dr. Muriel. "How many of us really look? How many of us really see when we look?"

Emily is logical and level-headed, she doesn't get distracted by emotions. Unfortunately, several people died before Emily determined who the killer was but she was able to save one person and also solved another related mystery. Slowly, the seemingly disparate threads and characters come together into a cohesive whole. As the threads came together and things started happening, I became engrossed and had trouble putting the book down. Smith kept me guessing as to the identity of the killer. The story took time to get going but the wait paid off as Smith wove it all into a sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted, always philosophical mystery dealing with family, faith, belief, grief, and pride.

"Beyond Belief" wasn't exciting and it was slow to start but it developed steam and became engrossing. Smith is a clean writer, with little extraneous detail, and she understands people's quirks and idiosyncrasies. In the end, I did enjoy it and I'd like to read more stories with Emily.


  1. Sounds like a really interesting premise, and the cover is neat :) I may have to add it to my TBR list, to get to at a later time. Nice review!

  2. The cover is gorgeous! Did you read the first in the series? It seems odd that there's so much introduction in the second book of the series.

    1. The introduction in the first half was less about Emily and more about the varied cast of characters. I haven't read the first book, but I may seek it out.


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