In Past & Present by Judy Penz Sheluk, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable has opened a business, Past & Present Investigations, to research the past, partnering with her best friend, Chantelle Bertrand, who specializes in genealogical studies. The first client seeks help in locating information about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, who moved to Canada from England in 1952 and died, perhaps in a “bad end,” three years later, leaving her toddler daughter to go through the foster system. Callie is excited to have a client so quickly, but she soon discovers that the life of Anneliese crossed with those of Callie’s own family, with whom she has a strongly adversarial relationship. Utilizing all the resources get friends can offer, in particular the psychic messages of Misty Rivers on the website and the psychometric readings (psychic readings of objects instead of people) of Randi, Callie has to work hard to dig into the past to find the truth. This investigation is going to take a lot more personal strength than Callie thought she would ever need again.
Past & Present proved to be a fascinating listen, especially with the details of the research into the past and how events long buried still can affect the present. It contains great details of how the ladies on the team conduct their research without getting overly bogged down in excessive explanations. I enjoyed getting to know Callie and Chantelle better since the previous book, and I really liked the character of Callie’s fiesty long-lost 91-year-old great-grandmother, Olivia, whom I found especially relatable. Further, I thought it fun to see the crossover between this series and Penz Sheluk’s other series, the Glass Dolphin series, in which Annabel stars. In this book, the antiques store owner serves as another of the consultants to the investigation agency, a touch I enjoyed.
The one thing I would have preferred to see less of is the psychic details. We see a number of messages of tarot readings that Misty posts on the company’s Facebook and web pages, which Callie suspects Misty is using to prime their client and sources. In addition to the many details of tarot reading, the book also spends a while discussing psychometry, as Callie takes items from the people they wish to learn more about to Randi, who examines each object and gives a reading off it.
Kelli Lindsay performs the audio edition of this book. With strong expression and good voice acting skills, Lindsay makes the experience of listening to this book enjoyable. I am sure the book is great visual reading, but the audiobook truly kept me tied to my headphones.
I thoroughly appreciated getting to listen to Past & Present. Despite my concerns that there is too much of the occult in the book, I still enjoyed the book. I give the book five stars.
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, but it had no influence on the content of my review.
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