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*
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…
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.