Sight Unseen

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Title: Sight Unseen
Author: Hunter Raines
Cover Artist:
Publisher: Carina Press
Buy Link: Sight Unseen
Genre: M/M contemporary paranormal romance
Length: 68,000
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Guest review by Jenre

Summary review: An interesting premise with very strong lead characters was offset by some things that didn’t work for me.

* This review may contain spoilers*

THE BLURB

Daniel Van Doren was once a renowned writer, until he was blinded in the car accident that killed his lover. Now, all he sees are ghosts in need of help. They follow him everywhere, and the only way to be rid of his ethereal visitors is to help them resolve their unfinished business here on earth so their spirits can find peace.

Ghostwriter Logan Riley is assigned to pen Daniel’s biography. He plans to reveal him as a fraud, but when they meet he’s struck by Danny’s quiet sincerity–and a growing attraction. Which makes sticking close to Danny to find out the truth more than a little distracting.

When they are attacked by a violent poltergeist Logan begins to believe Danny’s not just telling the truth, he’s in grave danger. A spirit has learned how to harness the energy of the living to break through the barrier between worlds to harm Danny. And Logan may be the one to blame…

THE REVIEW

I picked this book because I was interested to see how the character of Danny, a blind man, would be shown and thought that the paranormal story sounded interesting. In the end, I had very mixed views about the book.

Logan is a writer of expose biographies who is sent to dig the dirt on Danny, a blind man who helps the Phoenix police because he can see the ghosts of past victims. Logan is convinced that Danny is a fraud and intends to uncover the truth at all costs, despite their mutual attraction. However, when a poltergeist attacks them, Logan is forced to re-evaluate his feelings for Danny.

There were two aspects which worked well for me in this book. Firstly, the portrayal of Danny’s blindness was well researched and sympathetically shown. The difficulties he faces, the struggles he’s had to overcome and his bravery and resilience, made him a very likable character. The author had done a good job in getting to heart of Danny and his blindness and by the end of the book I felt I knew him well. Logan is often used to show how a seeing person can never really understand how it is to be blind, and this worked well too. It wasn’t too heavy handed or preachy but hit the right tone so that Logan’s gradual understanding of how hard it is for Danny also shows a growing respect for him. They worked well as a couple, with Danny’s earnestness and cautious personality working well alongside Logan’s skepticism and brasher personality.  Their romance is quick, but that still worked for me because they gelled so well as a couple.

Another aspect that worked was in the paranormal aspect from Danny’s point of view. The way that he sees ghosts and his reactions to them were realistically portrayed. I especially enjoyed the parts where he helps the boxer ghost and his mix of resignation that this is his life now, and a wish to help as much as he can. This all added to the sympathetic characterisation of Danny.

I had two aspects of the book which didn’t work for me. Firstly the author used clumsy sexual indicators to show how much lust the characters feel for each other. Whenever Danny and Logan are together they can barely keep their hands off each other and this is shown by both of them sporting an erection almost all the time they are together. This short-hand to show desire never works for me, mainly because it’s unbelievable that someone could sustain an erection for so long and also because these references were thrown in at the most inopportune times and as a result pulled me out of the story. I’ll, give you a few examples. In order to show Logan’s instant attraction to Danny before he’s even spoken to him, we get this line when Logan is sitting in his car across the street, watching Danny arrive home:

Logan tensed. His shaft lengthened and throbbed against his thigh.

In other words he gets a hard-on from just seeing a guy from a distance.

Later the two men are sitting round a table with two other characters involved in a serious conversation about ghosts and we get this line:

His right knee grazed Logan’s leg, and the contact jarred Danny’s thoughts, making his dick sit up and take notice.

This happened all the time. They look at each other and their dicks are instantly hard and leaking pre-come. They touch each other just briefly and they both get a stiffy. In the end it became a laughable distraction and took away from my enjoyment of what was in essence a tense, tightly written paranormal story.

The second aspect which didn’t work for me was in the character of Sophie, the ghostly ex of Logan. If she’d only been shown as a jealous woman, who even after death is unable to let Logan go, I would have been happy with her characterisation, but no, it had to be taken much further than that. During the course of the story we find out that Sophie is a liar of magnificent proportions, a slut, a homophobe, a selfish woman who caused the death of others in a fit of pique and a vindictive bitch whose hunger for fame overrode all other desires. She is truly one of the most evil women ever to set foot upon the planet. When we learn all this about her there is no explanation as to why she behaved like that, except for her pursuit of fame or even why Logan was so fooled by her in life. Did she need money or was it only for attention? We are never told and so Sophie becomes a stereotype, an evil ghost used only to force our heroes together. Her character was so over the top, that it annoyed me no end.

So overall, I had very mixed feelings about the book. If we take away the distracting sexual indicators – which I fully admit may not bother other readers as much as me – then this was an extremely well written ghostly paranormal story. The characters of Danny and Logan are vivid and well rounded, it’s just such a shame that Sophie becomes a cliched evil-ex.  I’ve enjoyed books by this author before and in a way this book is well worth reading, especially if the things that bothered me, won’t annoy you.

11 thoughts on “Sight Unseen

  1. Sirius

    HAHAHAH. Those are surely fast reacting dicks. Yeah, Sophie’s character would annoy the crap out of me. Let me guess is she the only woman in the story, or at least the only character who is not so secondary that her actions matter to the story? You know, you beat me for this story for review and I am now glad you did :). Thanks for saving me some money Jenre.

    1. Jenre Post author

      There was another female character in Danny’s sister who was a little more sympathetically drawn but fitted into the ‘caring, mothering’ type character. I wish we’d seen more of her, to be honest. You are right though, she didn’t impact on the story a great deal, other than to take on the ‘don’t mess with/hurt my brother’ role towards Logan.

  2. larissa

    Woa those must be two incredibly horny men. Sheesh. The story does sound okay despite that. I do love paranormal reads.

    I do hate how many female character are portrayed as evil in m/m books.

  3. Sirius

    I know not everybody agrees with me but I have no problem reading the story with no female characters on sight. I mean I will raise my eyebrows and wonder what bizarre world these guys live in, without women in it, but I read these books to read about love and/ or friendship between men and if you want to portray the men in the army or men somewhere on the frontier, during the war, elsewhere – I am fine with it. If you (generic you I have not read the book so I cannot specifically criticize it) cannot write women except making them over the top villainess or one dimensional caring type, why write them at all? But just in case, it really is possible to write women ( same as men, you know?) a human beings. Just look at Jordan Castillo Price books and not just her of course, but she IMO writes such great women characters. Sorry Jen – rant over. And I am not the reader who wants the woman anywhere close the main couple. I will read it as long as the guy does not choose to be with woman but as a rule not a fan of mfm menages, so is it really too much to ask that the characters of both genders are written well if one chooses to write them? And now the rant is truly over I swear :)

    1. larissa

      I can understand that. I rather have no females nearby than the typically evil ones that seem to haunt the genre.

      I do, however, like to see secondary characters. I’m of the believe that a good story (not necessarily a short one) needs a good cast of secondary characters to make a story round.

  4. Naaju Rorrete

    Great review, Jenre, and thanks for the warnings. Now, I know what to expect, so I won’t be as annoyed as if I don’t’ know, I still want to read this one because I love m/m paranormals.
    I agree with Sirius, there have to be an equilibrium when portraying women in m/m stories.

    1. Jenre Post author

      Thanks, Naaju. I think sometimes it’s nice to go into a book knowing there are some issues because then they may not bother you as much.

      The role of women in m/m is a subject that many readers could rant about for some time :).

  5. Sirius

    Oh for sure – I like the story to have the rounded cast of the secondary characters, which acknowledge that the other half of human population does exist in this world. It’s just as I said – rather than get the villains that we often get and them alone in the story I would rather get nothing. For me there are also situations especially in hiatorical where you can get away with not portraying women characters at all, if you so desire. Like in Jeff Mann’s “Purgatory” most action happens on the battlefield of the American Civil War. I believe there is one tiny tiny “name only” woman character that shows up and I was perfectly fine with it . This is one of the situations where I do not need to or want the writer to change anything there to include female character , I was quite fine with it as it was if that makes sense and would have been annoyed seeing women where they did not belong in the past – on the battlefield that is. But even in fantasy if writer builds her own world – the worlds without women do look so very wierd to me.

    1. Jenre Post author

      I agree Sirius, sometimes it’s not necessary to have a woman in the story at all, but when they are there, and are crucial to the story, I like them to be something other than the harridan/whore/interfering friend that we so often see.

  6. Jenre Post author

    I just realised that I didn’t answer some of these comments last week. I’m so sorry! Will rectify that now :).

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