In the small town of Tranquility, Arkansas, located in the Ozarks, a lot of the residents all tend to have special powers: veterinarian Rachel Thorne can mentally speak with animals; Average Jones can empathize with people and places as well as control the mood of a room; Jake Coltrane, the law for the bizarre little town, always seems to have a run of good luck, whether it’s monetary or vital to an event occurring in his life.
All of their talents will be needed in Tracy S. Morris’ novel, Bride of Tranquility, the sequel to Tranquility. It all begins when Jake can’t even access the newly renovated, and possibly haunted, Hotel des Portiers for his own wedding rehearsal. The UFO True Believers are holding a convention and managed to have a clause allowing them to keep any government official coming within 15 feet of their convention. Mr. Prunella, with the hotel, didn’t think that the clause would be an issue due to his lack of communication with Sarah when she booked the wedding for the same weekend. Two rent-a-cops try to show their authority by keeping Jake at a distance.
In addition to Jake’s upcoming wedding to Rachel, a reality ghost show is in town shooting footage at the hotel, trying to find ghosts in the historic site that has known secret passages (which everyone seems to have access to) with the help of their host, a self-proclaimed psychic. Before long, the hotel has people and ferrets running amok.
Then Mr. Prunella is found dead. Jake, along with Dr. Dave, Average and Rachel begin investigating while the town’s elected coroner claims that the unmoving man is definitely dead. In a town this small it’s difficult to keep news from traveling fast, but that’s exactly what Jake attempts to do, especially with the ghost TV crew selling footage to the news. In addition he is still trying to steer clear of the convention-goers; unsuccessfully trying to locate the hotel’s owner who is supposedly at a convention in Branson, Missouri; trying to keep Rachel calm as she believes that her departed best friend, who is also Jake’s dead wife, may have something to do with the death and is trying to show her disapproval at their wedding. This is helped along by the psychic interfering and stating such.
Before long a couple of more deaths occur and Jake has no choice but to bypass the convention-goers, call in back up from the state police and try to figure out why the wedding planner, Lord Valentine, keeps charging him a mere $100 for this little matter or that and how to get out of wearing tights and his underwear on the outside of his clothes for a Renaissance wedding.
"Different Study Habits" art by Brad W. Foster
Bride of Tranquility is a combination of comedy and small town fun in this whodunit. Morris has created a cast of fantastic characters in a natural environment that come across as believable. Being a somewhat recent bride, she has stress of wedding planning down to a “T” along with the mindframe of ferrets, which she also owns - or at least feeds and somewhat entertains as they do what they please.
Artist Brad W. Foster, known in the comic book industry for his great background work, has illustrated a delightful cover for the book that captures how absurd this event would really be if one were to ever have a wedding at a hotel the same weekend as some sci-fi, fantasy or horror convention.
At 162 pages, Bride of Tranquility is a relatively quick read, but a book you’re liable to read a couple of times, assuming you aren’t abducted by aliens between readings.