Ghost Moon

Ghost Moon_HeatherGraham_7815691

 

GREED, MURDER AND THE BLACK ARTS

4 STARS

Ten years ago, Kelsey Donovan’s mother fell down the staircase of their Key West home. Although she had died of a broken neck, there was a look of terror on her face – widely open eyes, mouth wrenched into a rictus of fear – that far transcended the momentary fear of falling.

Now, Kelsey’s maternal grandfather has been found dead in a chair, with a reliquary, a shotgun and a book on the black arts in his hand. And he also has that exact same look of terror on his face as did his daughter.

Liam Beckett, a high-ranking detective in the Key West PD has found the body and must make notification to Kelsey. Liam and Kelsey had never dated before her mother’s death, but they had a connection of true friendship. Liam had been her strength after her mother’s death and through the funeral. However, a few days later, Kelsey’s father had moved them away from Key West and Liam and Kelsey had been given no chance to say goodbye. Though life had moved on successfully for both of them, educationally and professionally, neither had come even close to settling down personally. And they didn’t really know why until they saw each other again.

There is absolutely no doubt, in this third and final entry in the Bone Island series, that Liam and Kelsey will become a couple and stay that way. There is not even a hint of a sub-plot that smacks of get-the-girl-lose-the-girl-get-the-girl-back. This book is simply a paranormal tale of murder – serial murder – complete with greed, black arts and ghosts. And this tale comes with a villain whose psychopathy is so deep-rooted and has been is place for so long, that those around him mistake it for something else entirely.

Heather Graham creates a murder mystery that very expertly leads the reader down the wrong path to the wrong person. When the identity of the murderer was revealed, I could only drop my jaw and say “Well done!”

However, that well-crafted denouement leads to the first of two criticisms about the book. This is a paranormal tale, but one that only centers on ghosts. While the Becketts, the O’Haras and their mates have varying abilities to see and communicate with the ghosts, these ghosts have limited abilities to communicate and act also. There are no vampires or werewolves with super powers to save the day here. And because of that, in the final crisis, our suspension of disbelief can become a bit stretched. Quite frankly, if our villain’s psychosis had been rooted in anything other than the black arts, both Liam and Kelsey would, without a doubt, be dead.

Contrivances and coincidences aside, this is a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy – until we reach the Epilogue. Those final pages feel rushed and very incomplete. There is no explanation given for what is happening or why it is occurring at that particular time. Perhaps Graham just wanted to be done. Perhaps she just didn’t know how to write this poignant event as part of an HEA. But, frankly, I think, that over the span of three books, she backed herself into a corner that would cause her readers tears rather than smiles and didn’t know how to fix it. But even misty eyes would have been better than that feeling of being cheated that I had when I turned the final page.

 Cover Art from Goodreads

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