Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Book Tour & Giveaway: The Legend of Rachel Petersen by J.T. Baroni

The Legend of Rachel Petersen
J.T. Baroni

Publisher: Sky Publishing
Date Published: 06-10-2023
Page count: 237 pages



Outraged when The Post Gazette overlooks him for a promotion, 43-year-old sportswriter Christian Kane quits the paper and moves to the country to write fiction. Inspiration flows from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods. He pens The Legend of Rachel Petersen, a fascinating story revolving around the dead twelve-year-old girl who was laid to rest beneath the weathered tombstone in 1863. His book climbs the bestseller lists; then Hollywood adapts it into a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous; but then! 

Does an enraged Rachel become more than a figment of the writer’s imagination and rise from her grave, seeking revenge on him for slandering her name?




4 stars!

Eerie tale of a malicious young spirit intent on setting the record straight! 

The Legend of Rachel Petersen is a satisfying, spooky, entertaining story that might not have been the best choice for bedtime reading. The author cleverly juggles multiple points of view and timelines to create a fun and eerie tale that will keep readers wondering about the existence of ghosts and a murder that happened over 150 years ago. 

The main character, sportswriter Christian Kane, is fed up with his job at the Pittsburgh paper, where he has excelled for many years, and impulsively quits when passed over for a promotion. Instead, he decides to pursue his dreams of writing a best-selling novel. However, he is woefully unprepared for the daunting task of crafting such a novel and all that goes into getting a book into publication once written. He's tentatively supported in this endeavor by his loving wife, Shelly, who worries about the practical aspects of their lives when he suddenly quits his well-paying job. While she is his most brutal critic, she is also his most enthusiastic cheerleader, continually boosting his spirits to keep trying. 

The plot is well-paced, and there is an eerie creepiness from the moment the couple discovers the long-hidden tombstone while out for a walk, especially when Christian repeatedly visits the gravesite of his new muse (Rachel Petersen). Headstones are a marvelous inspiration for a story, and a child's marker is always heartbreaking and question-inducing. I enjoyed how the author told the stories of the Kanes, the Yoders, and Rachel and the Tremont family in alternating chapters, each from a significant character's point of view, showing how the past was bleeding into the present. 

The rural Pennsylvania setting was fresh and interesting, and I liked the inclusion of agricultural history and Civil War events that occurred in the vicinity of the farm. I enjoyed it when the Yoder family listened to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, and the author included the names of real entertainers of the time, famous names readers may recognize. The small and large details gave me a real feel for the place and the area's remoteness, which compounded the brooding atmosphere and unsettled feeling I had while reading. I read this book in an evening, completely absorbed by Christian's, Thaddeus's, and Rachel's stories.

 I recommend THE LEGEND OF RACHEL PETERSEN to readers who enjoy paranormal thrillers and horror stories.


J.T. Baroni, pictured with the tombstone
 that inspired the story.

Living in Western Pennsylvania all my life, I’ve been an avid Whitetail hunter since old enough to tote a rifle, which is also about as long as I’ve had a fondness for word games and literature.

While hunting one year, I actually did stumble upon a weathered tombstone in the middle of the woods.

While waiting patiently for that big buck to cross my path, I had plenty of time to ponder the dead girl's fate, which I was then driven to write.

Eerily enough, this is the premise of The Legend of Rachel Petersen, my first novel published in 2012, which I recently revised.

A newly retired transformer repairman, I refer to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of Pittsburgh, as home.

My wife Becky and I share our abode with two retrievers - Piper, and Remmy.


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