The Legend of Rachel Petersen

Revised Edition

Fiction - Supernatural
237 Pages
Reviewed on 09/03/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

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.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Alma Boucher for Readers' Favorite

The Legend of Rachel Petersen is a paranormal tale for young adults by J.T. Baroni. Christian Kane was a sports journalist who lacked technological know-how and was viewed as being outdated. Christian did not have a computer, and his boss forced him to have a cell phone. After years of hard work, he believed that he was going to be promoted and planned to buy a new home and live his dream life with his wife Shelby. When Christian was overlooked for the promotion, he quit, and the couple moved to the county. He decided to write a novel, and although Shelby was not excited by this idea she supported her husband. Christian found inspiration after finding the grave of a little girl while out on a walk in the woods. As his book gained popularity, he believed that Rachel was after him.

The Legend of Rachel Petersen by J.T. Baroni is both compelling and intriguing. Rachel’s story was sad, and the fact that she could not rest in peace was even sadder. There is a story within the story that is fascinating. The narrative shifts between Christian and his wife and the novel. I was drawn deeper and deeper into the tale and could not turn the pages fast enough. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. The descriptions of the events were vivid and easy to visualize. The characters were authentic and relatable. Each character had a backstory that was unique. I was captivated by Rachel’s story, and it had me guessing until the end. The account is beautifully written, and the twist at the end was a big surprise.

Pikasho Deka

The Legend of Rachel Petersen is a paranormal mystery novel by J.T. Baroni. After being overlooked for a promotion he had been expecting, sports journalist Christian Kane quits his job and moves to the countryside with his beautiful wife to write novels. However, it isn't until he comes across the tombstone of a twelve-year-old girl named Rachel Petersen who died in the mid-1800s that he finds inspiration. Based on his discovery, he writes a story about two young brothers, Thaddeus, and Seth Yoder, from the 1950s, who were haunted by Rachel’s ghost after Thaddeus dug up her grave. The brothers must figure out the cause of her death to release her from her earthly shackles. Christian's debut novel brings him much fame and fortune, but is the real Rachel satisfied with the way the story ended?

J.T. Baroni uses a non-linear narrative style featuring a story within a story to tell a fascinating tale full of mystery, suspense, humor, and plenty of thrills. The Legend of Rachel Petersen will especially enamor paranormal mystery readers who love riddles that encourage them to pick out the clues and figure out what's going to happen next. Despite the experimental approach to the narrative, Baroni paces the plot well, and you can't help getting attached to the characters and their plights. I enjoyed the scenes involving the Yoder brothers and found Christian's frustrations over his denied promotion particularly hilarious, especially his inner monologues. The author traverses different genres and timelines with panache, and I can't recommend the book highly enough.

Carmen Tenorio

Struggling after quitting his job when he was overlooked for a promotion, Christian Kane had doubts about his ability to be a fiction writer. This ex-sportswriter was at a loss until he stumbled upon an isolated tombstone of a 12-year-old girl named Rachel Petersen who lived during the Civil War. This inspired him to write a novel about her life. Several rejections later, Christian Kane's novel about her finally gets published and almost instantly becomes a bestseller and, consequently, a successful film. This of course made him rich and famous. Everything seems to be going well except for the fact that Christian Kane had to face Rachel Petersen's ghost as she appears to be unhappy seeing her name and memory disturbed and exploited by an ambitious writer.

Expect several plot shifts from this contemporary cum historical fiction novel because it transitions between three time periods using a main plot and two subplots meshed together to create The Legend of Rachel Petersen. The characters are well developed which makes the book an enjoyable read. The author also did well in portraying the authenticity of the story elements through the details, tone, language, or behavior of the characters in whatever era or setting the novel takes you. Some sequences will do well with horror, supernatural, or mystery story enthusiasts who'll take delight in the unexpected plot twists of both its central narrative and riveting sub-plots. Overall, it is a well-written book from the skilled and creative mind of author J.T. Baroni who knows how to sustain his readers' interest. Whether the lead protagonist experiences genuine otherworldly events or products of his reaction to life's anxieties and stress, what he does is ultimately too spooky and creepy to be called average. So fasten your seatbelts and welcome to Christian Kane's twilight zone. Highly recommended for die-hard fans of the paranormal genre.

Jessica Barbosa

The Legend of Rachel Petersen by J.T. Baroni begins with an unexpected turn in Christian Kane's career. Christian had become a superb writer during the eighteen years he had spent working at The Post Gazette. Naturally, after all his hard work, he felt that he deserved a promotion. Much to his disappointment and despite his ability and effort, the position was unexpectedly given to someone else. Because of this setback, he decided to abandon his journalistic career and moved to the countryside to pursue his love for writing fiction. After settling in and while out for a stroll with his wife, he received inspiration from an unexpected source in the form of a grave they accidentally came across in the middle of the woods. This was just the beginning of Christian’s intriguing tale.

J.T. Baroni's The Legend of Rachel Petersen left me speechless. The storyline was exciting and mysterious and each chapter had me wanting more. The unique plotline and well-rounded characters provided an amazing tale of adventure and suspense. I adored the interaction between Christian and his wife Shelby. Their love and support for one another was so genuine. Shelby's character grew on me because she played an important role in Christian's progress in both his career and in his personal growth. She was Christian's number one supporter and she always told him what he needed to hear during the times that he struggled. Aside from the fantastic characters, I also enjoyed the way that the book Christian wrote was seamlessly incorporated into the main story. I felt as if I was reading two amazing books instead of one. This two-in-one treasure has now become one of my favorites.

Essien Asian

Things could not be going any better for Christian Kane. His column in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is doing fabulously well, life at home with his beautiful wife Shelby is moving along like clockwork, and the impending retirement of the present senior editor of the sports section has all the makings of an upward career move for him. When he is inexplicably overlooked for the promotion he expects, an unhappy Christian decides a new direction is the best option for his career and family. Despite his unblemished record as a sports writer, does he feel he can cut it as a novelist? Only time will tell in J.T. Baroni's The Legend of Rachel Petersen.

A scorned newspaper reporter takes on a new challenge in J.T. Baroni’s drama novel. His depiction of the cut-throat industry that is the media business is quite original, but what is even better is his portrayal of Christian battling with his inner demons as he takes the first steps in an intriguing adventure. With the way Baroni applies the highest level of attention to even the smallest of details and the sincerity with which Christian searches for his inspiration, I sincerely suspect there is more truth to the fiction than is obvious in this tale. The conversations between the characters are realistic and relatively easy to identify with, while the story maintains the kind of suspense that will hold the reader's attention. The best part of this novel is how Baroni transforms a simple drama into the kind of thriller that will give the reader chills as they connect the dots. The Legend of Rachel Petersen is in a class of its own.