THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
Two years ago, two actors were found murdered on Haunted Island where the film they were starring in was being shot. Vanessa Loren, part owner of the film project, found the murdered actors. In truth, she didn’t really find their bodies; she only found their decapitated heads and severed arms, grotesquely posed. The murders were never solved, but a missing crewmember was considered the prime suspect.
Now, in the present day, Vanessa has learned that Sean O’Hara and David Beckett (major characters in the first book of the trilogy, Ghost Shadow) are planning a documentary on that part of Key West history that involves shipwrecks and pirates. Since the subject of Vanessa’s film revolved around one of those shipwreck legends, she arranges, through Sean’s uncle, Jamie, to meet Sean at the uncle’s bar. Her goals are to get the legend included in his documentary and to get him to hire her onto the crew as his assistant. And she hopes that will lead to new evidence in the case.
While impressed with Vanessa’s dive and film credentials and sympathetic to her plight, Sean is initially reluctant to pursue the idea. Just as he decides to present the idea to his partner, his sister, Katie, walks into the bar. At that point, he learns that she and Vanessa are long-time friends and that Vanessa has known Jamie for some time as well – facts that she has conveniently forgotten to mention. Feeling that he has been played, he ends the meeting, crushes Vanessa’s hopes and disgustedly walks out on them all.
After several intense discussions, David and Katie convince Sean to go with Vanessa’s idea and to hire her as his assistant. But that initial lie of omission becomes the foundation stone of their relationship. Several “coincidences” over the next few days do not help matters any, nor does Vanessa’s tendency to voice only what she knows, not what she thinks or suspects. Nevertheless, the attraction of like minds and like abilities bring the two together, past the professional, into a personal relationship. And the documentary project swings into full production, with a murderer closer than they know.
This story, second in the trilogy, is not as page-by-page exciting as the first book of the trilogy. The sections where Graham inserts the legends and history apropos to the islands and the shipwrecks are lengthier and more numerous than what I remember from the first book. And Vanessa’s dream sequences become longer and more repetitious as the book progresses. Since she has these nightmares frequently, they come across as a device for expressing action rather than the author actually putting Vanessa into dangerous spots as she did with Katie in the first book. Since the reader knows they are dreams, there is little to become tense over or make the reader push to read longer.
Bartholomew is a more integral character in this book than in the last and his abilities as a ghost have advanced greatly. The interactions between Sean and Bartholomew are never comedic and his public handling of the ghost is far better than that portrayed by Katie in the first book. And when he finally becomes fully visible to Vanessa, the story takes a dramatic turn.
While this tale is typed as a paranormal romantic suspense, its sub-theme is trust. Lies of omission are the first focus. Running from questions and accusations rather than confronting them becomes an additional focus later in the book. And Graham, through the tribulations of Sean and Vanessa, pointedly reminds the reader that the truth will truly set you free – and could very well save your life.
Cover Art from Goodreads