The witches of Coventry are all on edge when the crew of a famous ghost hunting show arrives in town. Coventry has been good at hiding its secrets from the world for hundreds of years, but in the deep dark corners of the web, whispers of a town full of witches and ghosts circulate among those who are true believers of the paranormal.
When it’s decided that denying them a filming permit would just make them more suspicious, Brighton is elected by the town council to be their official Coventry escort. Her job is to ensure they don’t catch any convincing evidence of the paranormal and hopefully make them so bored they decide to cut the town from their show’s schedule.
But, this is Coventry we’re talking about. When one of the film crew turns up dead at Hangman’s House after a night of paranormal investigation, Brighton is once again forced to get involved.
Oh, and Thorn’s in trouble too. He’s in hot water in more ways than one. He’ll need Brighton’s help to save his bacon from the frying pan, but will he really break her heart?
Nothing like waking up to pounding on your front door and finding the cast and crew of a ghost hunting series on your front porch. Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before it happened. For the moment they can’t do any filming, but they are scoping out possible sites. They need to get a permit from the town before they do anything else. Brighton decides to escort them to the town council knowing they won’t be happy about it but also know it’s inevitable.
Once they have the permit, they start looking at sites and the citizens of Coventry are reporting trespassers left and right, keeping the sheriff’s department running around to their calls.
Remy and Brighton keep a lid on the paranormal, but the council wants more from her. She’s officially appointed babysitter so the number of calls to the Sheriff gets stopped.
After a couple of days camping out in different places, the star Kurt announces they are getting a room to shower before they do anymore. Before she even realizes it, Brighton invites them to shower a Hangman’s House. With Remy and Annika plus Meri and Brody they had them all covered to keep them from snooping. Oh, and she also offers to feed them.
While they were hoping to do some investigating at the Courthouse, it was too late and although Brighton suggests the asylum in the next town, the ghost hunters have something else in mind. They want to do Hangman’s House and they are surprised Brighton doesn’t know the house’s history.
This is a favorite scene.
“Well, it’s probably too late to start something in the courthouse. What about the abandoned asylum?” I asked.
“That’s not in Coventry,” Chris interjected.
“I know,” I said. “It’s in the next town, but it’s close. I’m sure your viewers would love it.”
“We were actually hoping you’d let us do an investigation here,” Kurt said softly.
“No,” Remy said before I could answer.
“I knew letting you guys in here was a mistake.”
“We aren’t trying to upset you,” Toto said. “I’ll even let you review any footage before we put it in the show.”
“You have to understand that this is one of the most fascinating locations in Coventry,” Chris said. “The history of this place is amazing.”
“Don’t,” Annika warned.
“Don’t what?” I asked.
“She doesn’t know,” Chris’s voice didn’t hide his shock. “She doesn’t know about the house.”
“I mean, I know it’s called Hangman’s House,” I said. “I guess I never really thought too much about why.”
“That’s weird,” Brody said as he came down the stairs. “I didn’t really think about looking into the house’s history either.”
I wondered if the witches of Coventry had used magic to keep me from looking into the history of the house, or perhaps Meri did. The again, with the way the house behaved, it could have been responsible for Brody’s and my complete lack of interest.
“You should know,” Kurt said. “You live here, after all.”
What they told me next was shocking, but it wasn’t surprising. Before Coventry was a town full of witches, it was a frontier village. Hangman’s House belonged to the first wealthy family in the area. The head of the household eventually became the mayor and the town judge because back then, people were pretty much left to run things the way they wanted out on the prairie. As long as what they did didn’t draw the attention of the magistrates in the larger cities, small hamlets like pre-colonial Coventry did things the way they wanted.
And at one point, what they wanted was witch trials. That year there had been a great deal of sickness and a lot of the crops had gone bad too.
One evening, the youngest son of the mayor had snuck out of his bedroom to go for a walk on their property. Some said he’d endured a belting that evening for having a smart mouth and was probably in a sour mood. He was looking to take his hurt and humiliation out on someone.
He found several someones as he skirted the edge of his father’s property near the woods. The boy heard laughter and saw a fire in the woods, and he was drawn to see what it was.
What he came upon was a small group of the town’s young, unmarried women dancing around a small fire in a clearing. They were drinking wine and singing.
Of course, the boy ran back to his father and reported that he’d seen the girls worshiping the devil in the woods. The mayor was more than willing to forgive his son for sneaking out given the information he’d found for his father.
The next day, a meeting was called at the church, and shortly after, the girls were all arrested. Their families were afraid to protest, and most of them ended up testifying against the girls.
The trials lasted less than a week, and the entire group was sentenced to hang. No one stepped in to prevent the executions, so all of the girls were hung the next Sunday afternoon right after church.
“And they call this Hangman’s House because the judge who sentenced them to hang lived here,” I said.
“Yes, and from what I’ve put together, the girls are buried across the street in the unmarked cemetery,” Chris said. “It’s mostly Tuttlesmith and Skeenbauer ancestors in the old part, but there are a few graves there that are much older.”
“Where did they hang?” I didn’t want to know, but the question was burning a hole in my mind.
“The tree out front,” Rachel said matter-of-factly.
The rest of the Ghost Seekers’ heads swiveled around. Kurt glared at her. I got the feeling they hadn’t wanted to tell me that part.
“Oh,” I said and turned to Remy and Annika. “Why didn’t you tell me this?”
“It wasn’t important,” Annika said. “I mean, of course it was an important part of history, but it’s not like they were real witches.”
“What do you mean by that?” Bobby asked.
“I mean that there have been numerous witch hunts and trials throughout history where innocent women died because people were scared of things they didn’t understand,” Annika said.
“And you?” I asked Brody. “This never came up?”
“It’s not his fault,” Remy said. “Most of that information is contained in the Coventry archives and a few rare books. It’s not exactly common knowledge.”
“But you guys know?” I asked the Ghost Seekers.
“We don’t have access to a small town’s private archives,” Kurt said, “but we do have access to something else. We’re able to get information most other people can’t or don’t want.”
“What do you mean?”
“What he means is that we get our information from the dark web,” Rachel said. “There are forums there where people can post and discuss real paranormal evidence. No one there accuses them of hoaxes or being crazy. We just investigate.”
“Sometimes we have to pay for information too,” Link added. “Some people have information or evidence you can only see if you pay.”
“That doesn’t sound like it would be very reliable,” Brody said.
“It’s not usually, but sometimes you get something good,” Kurt said. “Like the information on this house. We weren’t sure if it was true, but your friend confirmed it. That means there was another set of witch trials in this country.”
“There were probably even more than that,” Chris added. “The ones in Salem were only discovered because they affected people beyond just the village of Salem.”
“But if I let you investigate the house, then the information about the witch trials will get out,” I said. “The world will know.”
“Don’t you think it should?” Kurt asked.
I knew it was a decision I’d be making for the whole town. On one hand, I knew it would draw more investigators and possibly tourists to Coventry. On the other hand, Kurt was right. I felt like the world should know.
“All right, you can do an investigation on the property,” I said. “But if I catch anyone rifling through my underwear drawer, it’s over.”
Kurt clapped his hands together. “Yes! Thank you so much, Brighton. After we conduct our investigation here tonight, we can move on to the old cemetery tomorrow. This is going to be awesome.”
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven. Kindle Locations (5707-5754). Kindle Edition.
Of course, the first place they want to check out is the basement, and Brighton worries when she sees Bobby drawing a pentagram and placing candles down there. This is not going to end well especially when they all start arguing over what Bobby was doing. Meri and Brighton agree they have to be stopped as the veil was thinning feeding off the anger and tension. Brighton suggests going outside to investigate the tree to cool off, but Bobby takes off and Rachel follows him.
The rest of the crew discuss letting Bobby go but decide to wait until the end of the season when his contract ends. Once again Brighton does the unthinkable and invites them to stay instead of them getting a room at the inn.
The next day finds Kurt dead in the tree and thinks get really crazy after that.
Brighton has to prove it was murder and not suicide so they can’t use it to increase the show’s ratings. She’ll also have to figure out who did it.
All this on top of Thorn, mostly ignoring her while trying to work out parental rights over his daughter Dani with his ex-wife Sara.
So much going on, and this book will certainly keep you on your toes. Some surprises and some things we just knew had to happen.
I love reading this as a boxset since I can easily move on to the next book.
5 Contented Purrs for Sara!
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Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)