Darkhouse

 Perry Palomino is 20 something and stuck in a job she hates with a family who don’t understand her. She has always had weird things happening to her, but the nightmares she is having this time are much darker. Drawn to her uncle’s abandoned lighthouse, she starts seeing things that make no sense and meets up with a trespassing amateur ghost hunter – Dex Foray – which is when things go from bad to worse!

This is not my usual kind of book – not enough romance for one thing, but having said that, by the end I was enjoying it. This seems more like a young adult book even though the main characters are 22 and 30 something. They behaved  like a couple of teenagers at times with their decisions and actions.

I have to confess Dex annoyed the hell out of me. What a prat, and I don’t understand what Perry sees in him. I can tell he has lots of secrets which will no doubt appear in future books and will become more likeable, but at the moment he is not for me. Perry is also not the most likeable of characters, but she did make me laugh at times. I expect the romance between these two will be developed over future books but it was definitely lacking here.

Moving on to the story – I do not really read scary stories (I am a wuss) so to me this seemed quite scary! Probably very tame for people who read horror, but the descriptions and imagery were excellent.  I was scared at times – the creepy clown lady in particular made me shudder. It took a while to get going but I did get dragged into the story and was keen to find out what was going to happen next.

There were lots of unanswered questions at the end and I do not really feel the lighthouse story was fully explained, but I guess with ghosts there is more that is unexplained than explained. I also get the impression there is much more to Perry than we have seen so far. I note there are a number of books in this series so have no doubt the characters and their relationship will develop.

Overall If you are not big on romance and like scary stories with kooky characters you will probably love this book,  for me the story was fairly good but the lack of romance and my irritation with the characters made it only average.

Book Information
  • Author: Karina Halle
  • Series: Experiment in Terror (1)
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Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Mortal Remains

Being called to a bizarre drowning in Quebec is nothing new to Temperance Brennan.  Identifying the body as John Lowery, a man who had died in Vietnam and had been buried 40 years ago in North Carolina was more out of the ordinary.  Who was buried in Lowery’s grave if the body they had recovered was the real Lowery?  With only questions, Tempe sets out to find answers that lead her to an exhumation, then to Hawaii for reanalysis.  When another set of remains is discovered, this time accompanied by Lowery’s dog tags,  Temperance grits her teeth and digs in deep to get to the bottom of the puzzle.  Three bodies which can’t ALL be John Lowery, so who is the real one, who are the others and how were they involved in this?  Detective Andrew Ryan, ex-lover and friend joins her in Hawaii to help unravel the mystery, one that might just have Tempe at a loss for the first time.

It’s always a pleasure starting a new book about Temperence Brennan.  The only downside is, once you start, you can’t put it down until you’ve finished.  Mortal Remains is the latest installment in the series and it’s very good.  I always admire the character’s tenacity, intelligence and compassion along with her professionalism and need to find answers, especially for those who can no longer answer for themselves.

The pace of the story was spot on, tense and emotional and my only complaint would be the number of acronyms it contained but I do have to say they were always well explained, especially for people like me, who aren’t American or familiar with the agencies involved.

I can only imagine how much of Kathy Reich’s own history as a forensic anthropologist finds its way into her books but it must be considerable as the procedures and methods are explained in clear, rich detail.

It was good to see some familiar ‘faces’ from previous books and of course, how could the book be complete without Andrew Ryan.  His attempts at trying to reconnect with Tempe did make me laugh and I do feel a bit sorry for him but he did bring it on himself.  He really is going to have to try harder, our dear Tempe isn’t a pushover!

Having Tempe’s daughter along for the Hawaii trip was good even though she was grieving, she is a character I like a lot and enjoyed seeing more of her.  Adding Andrew’s daughter to the mix did get a little irritating at times but I guess was necessary for how some of the story played out.  I did want to smack her at times though!

A great read, full of the things we have come to know and love from Kathy Reichs.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kathy Reichs
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Vanished

It took me quite a while to get through this book and not for the usual reasons of bad writing or plot problems.  Simply the fact it was book 4 in a series I haven’t come across before, and there were a lot of references to past events that I didn’t understand.  I did try holding off until I could get the previous three but finances intervened, and I decided to just go ahead and read it anyway.  It became much less of a problem the further I got through and started understanding more of what was going on and how the protagonist Harper Blaine became what she was, a Greywalker.

Greywalkers are people who have died for just a few minutes and come back with the ability to see and interact with the ‘Grey’, the spiritworld inhabited by not just ghosts of people but buildings, different time periods and even otherworldly creatures.  Things and items that have a touch of ‘Grey’ to them have a gleam which can attract a Greywalker and then use their other sight to examine them, often learning a lot but not always what you want to know.  You can empathise a lot with Harper as she experiences several revelations about who she is and where she came from.  Most of them not good.

In spite of the problems I had with the references, I really enjoyed the book, the plot was twisty and very cleverly done and I have the feeling it has been a long running setup to this point from the other novels.  You cared about Harper Blaine very quickly and felt sorry for how chaotic her life had become.  I didn’t anticipate some of the twists which is always a nice surprise and the character writing was really well done.  Also at each turn, the author had Harper react as you would imagine a real person would, rather than writing a larger than life character that is apparently omnipotent but when it comes to the crunch, something always gets in the way.

One thing I have to touch on is the research Kat Richardson obviously did for this novel.  She lives in the US where the series is also set but for plot reasons, Harper has to go to London to sort some things out.  Some authors will fake it, have some things accurate that they could look up and gloss over the parts they can’t, but you really got a feel for the Greywalker London and you can read about how she achieved that after the story finishes at the end of the book.  That she visited most of the places she wrote into the book, and adapted other parts to fit with London’s history, I really have nothing but respect for her.

As soon as finances permit I will definately be getting the first three!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kat Richardson
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