"Scarlet at Crystal River" By Randy Overbeck: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Terrance McArthur

 Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

A honeymoon in Florida—that was in store for Darrell and Erin Henshaw, a Christmas vacation in her boss’s mansion. It would be wonderful, except for the ghost children asking Darrell for help in Scarlet at Crystal River, Randy Overbeck’s third Haunted Shores Mystery.

Darrell sees dead people—and hears them, too. He was warned of his spirit visitors by an intrusive medium who has complicated his life in the previous books. The Latino apparitions lead the newlyweds on a journey through the beauties of a manatee sanctuary to the squalor of a camp of migrant laborers, and into the heart of bigotry, greed, and murder.
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Image Source Wild Rose Press
The thing about Darrell is that he doesn’t want this “gift,” and he even tries to hide it from Erin, although she knows about it and is willing to follow him and it into danger. He also has OCD and panic attacks that he is overcoming…sort of, yet she loves him.

The interesting thing about Overbeck’s writing is its ability to transport you into real-life landscapes and imagined locations with a seamlessness that makes it hard to tell one from the other. The beauties of Florida’s Gulf Coast , the swampy growth that borders the greenery of well-fertilized fields, the posh interior of an ag-magnates two-story, and a no-nonsense farmhouse amid metal buildings and equipment, all create a land that is seen, heard, smelled, and felt.

Luis, a young man working several jobs, figures heavily in the story, working with the Henshaws as an interpreter and backup. The work of Jared Emerson, a real-life artist who includes hand-spread paint in his work, is another factor in the mystery, with artwork that points the sleuth toward the solution of the haunting children’s fate.

It all takes place in the holiday season of 1999, when the characters felt the uncertainty of Y2K looming in the near future. Darrell’s gift of sensitivity, his ability to perceive ghosts, is not just a part of his character; it is the key that uncovers the hidden secrets of the past in the Haunted Shores Mysteries, but there is one thing to remember—not all the spirits are nice ones.  

To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Scarlet at Crystal River, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "scarlet,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 9.2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT EBOOK OR PRINT AND BE AWARE THAT DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS THERE MAY BE A DELAY IN SHIPPING THE WINNING BOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is newly retired as a Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children's tales to splatterpunk horror. He's an odd bird, but he's nice to have around.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I'd love to have a print copy of Scarlet at Crystal River. Please enter my name in the draw. Thanks! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  2. I think that this book has a unique setting. It would be an interesting book to read.


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