Ghosts Dancing on Water by Patricia Bernard (Psychological Thriller: Paranormal)

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Stephen Symons, author of Islands of the Sixteen Gods Series
Jun 21, 2016
You would not have got very far into Patricia Bernard chilling tale "Ghosts Dancing on Water" before you realised that Stevie Switch is someone that you would go to some considerable lengths to avoid annoying. Quite how to describe Stevie I do not know – I am not psychologist – but he is definitely not criminally insane. Criminal insanity is concerned primarily with intent and the ability to form it. Stevie definitely has the ability to form intent. In fact, that is what the book is all about: Stevie's intentions, the way that he forms them, and the meticulous and patient way in which he carries them out.

Sociopath? Maybe, I couldn't say for sure. Psychopath? Definitely, but considering his train-wreck of a family, and the ghastly experiences of his childhood, it is hardly surprising that he turned out like he did. Mind you, a lot of other people suffer as much or worse and do not turn into serial killers. Genes must have a lot to do with it. Stevie thinks so. Stevie thinks quite a lot about genes.

Stevie is not entirely evil. He has virtues, and patience is one of them. Roy never understood that; he thought that Stevie was finally learning to do as he was told. Silly Roy. And Stevie is loyal to his friends, as Pablo found out. Stevie did not have to stay until the bitter end, but he did. But then Pablo did not really understand Stevie either. Melody Rose had suspicions, but she never really understood. Lily does. Only too well. She is the only one who does.

Patricia Bernard has a good way with words. They flow easily and naturally. You can almost hear the Australian accent. At times it is almost as if Stevie is whispering in your ear as he explains what he is doing, and why [it is all in the first person]. It is creepy stuff. Melody Rose gets a say, too, and Pamela, and Rachel, and Claire and others even after – well, you'll find out in good time. And then you, too, will be able to understand Stevie. Or, at least, insofar as any normal person can understand him. And when you do, you will also understand the truly frightening part of this story: there are people like Stevie walking around the streets, sitting next to you in a café, maybe evening living next door.

There is one thing that you won't understand, however. Why are there no ghosts along the Swan River or the Brisbane River, yet they cluster like flies along the Yarra?

This is a good one. Four stars.
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