Transforming a dilapidated Scottish castle into a prime tourist attraction is a big investment for writer–actor Toni MacNally and her friends. Unfortunately, once the work is complete and their re-enactment of fictionalized local history starts to draw crowds, Bruce MacNiall, the supposed owner of the place, arrives. He tells them they've been conned—the castle was never for sale, and he wants them to vacate the premises at once.

But Bruce is reasonable and allows the troupe to remain and recoup some of their money while he investigates the situation. An ex-cop, he's also a consultant on a serial murder case, since the bodies are being dumped on his land. Oddly protective of Toni, who's troubled by prophetic dreams, he's at a loss to explain their connection—or offer a reason why one of his ghostly ancestors is prowling the castle at night.

The Presence is Graham at her best—it's a modern gothic with a wry sense of humor, and it's guaranteed to please her fans and likely win her some new ones. (Sep., 384 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer