Ghost Shadow

Ghost Shadow_HeatherGraham_7815689


Patience, Predators and Ghosts

3 Stars

This book is the first entry in the Bone Island Trilogy by Heather Graham. Its setting is modern-day Key West, Florida, just prior to and during the infamous Fantasy Fest annual celebration.

The basic idea in the story is that, ten years ago, David Beckett’s ex-fiancé was murdered. Her body was found posed in the historical museum owned by David’s grandfather and David became the primary suspect. However, he had an ironclad alibi and the case was never solved. Now David, a successful photojournalist, is back to settle his recently deceased grandfather’s estate – and find the murderer.

Enter Katie O’Hara. Katie has been able to see and communicate with ghosts since she was a small child. She has learned to keep her gift to herself as much as possible, trying not to be labeled as “crazy.” However, one particular ghost, Bartholomew, has adopted Katie, so to speak. He is almost a constant SHADOW for Katie and is working to expand his own abilities.

Katie has a contract to purchase the Beckett Museum from the estate and intends to re-open it. However, the day before closing, David returns to town and kills the sale, intending to dismantle the museum instead. Katie’s dream is shattered and the fireworks begin. And so do more posed killings!

The story was engaging, even fascinating at times, but not captivating enough to ignore my chores or stay up into the wee hours just to finish. And I guessed the identity of the murderer early in the tale, based on one word repeated twice, once in each of two scenes. However, motive took longer to figure.

While the story, as a paranormal romantic suspense, was enjoyable, four incongruities in the story line dimmed its appeal – and its rating. First, the circumstances of Bartholomew’s death played a direct part in the current murders. However, Katie supposedly had no idea how the ghost had died, even though the quite loquacious entity has lived in her home and been her companion for several years.

Secondly, the author gave one of the murder suspects an occupation of traveling salesman – selling vacuum cleaners, no less. The traveling salesman part was okay, but the vacuum cleaner part was seriously outdated when compared to the time setting of the story. 

The third inconsistency also involves failure to use a “modern convenience.” The author makes multiple mentions of people looking at Katie suspiciously when she appears to be talking and gesturing to no one. It appears that the author is trying too hard to emphasize the concept of “crazy” since a simple remedy to the stares would be a Bluetooth earpiece. Then it would seem as if the people were just hearing Katie’s side of a phone conversation.

The fourth incongruity occurred when a syringe filled with poison was set up to be driven into the heart of a strapped-down Katie when a trip wire was engaged. While the scene was visually horrific, as the author no doubt intended, the author did not write in any means for the syringe’s plunger to be depressed.

Based on these observations, it would seem that the author was writing certain elements of the story for effect without adequate attention to reason, practicality or the need to make sense. Paranormals already require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, and an author does not need to make a mess of the situations that are not paranormal in nature.

The romance portion of the story did fit well with the paranormal portion and felt emotionally solid. The characterizations were 3-dimensional and allowed for growth, even those of the ghosts. I have the other two books of the trilogy in my library, and despite the glitches in this entry, I feel they will make a good mental respite between the heavier mystery novels and the police procedurals that I often read.

Cover Art from Goodreads


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