Nightwalker

Nightwalker

by Heather Graham

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Jessy Sparhawk has seen firsthand how gambling can ruin people’s lives. But one night, desperate for money, she places the bet that will change her life forever. Just as she’s collecting her winnings, a man stumbles through the crowd, a knife protruding from his back, and crashes into her, pinning her to the craps table. Hired to investigate the murder, private detective Dillon Wolf finds himself fascinated by the gorgeous redhead who’d been trapped beneath the victim–and by the single word the dying man had whispered in her ear. “Indigo.”

What neither of them realizes is that the nightmare is only just beginning. Because bodyguard Tanner Green may have been killed by that knife, but his angry ghost isn’t going anywhere–not without vengeance. Now, literally caught between the living and the dead, Dillon and Jessy have no choice but to forge ahead together. Their investigation will take them from the glitz of the Vegas strip into the dealings of casino magnate Emil Landon, the man who signs both their paychecks, and out into the desert to a ghost town called Indigo, where past and present come together in a search for gold.

Years ago, blood was shed on that very ground, and now it looks as if history is about to repeat itself, with the living and the dead facing off for possession of a fortune, and Dillon and Jessy fighting not only to stay alive but for the chance to build a future.

 Sometimes you just need to read something predictable; a good novel with a solid story, fun characters, and no surprises helps when you’re feeling a tad burned out. This is when I turn to Heather Graham. A Graham novel will always contain a headstrong heroine, a smart kind hero, an intriguing mystery, a steamy romance, and ghosts! All good things!

Nightwalker did not disappoint. It contained all the classic Heather Graham elements and made for an enjoyable read during my commute. Jessy is a casino entertainer in Las Vegas who kinda witnesses’ the murder of a well-known hired muscle. Dillon is a private investigator for Adam Harrison Investigations who decides to help Jessy. It’s a story of insta-love, snarky ghosts, and cowboy shoot-outs. What’s not to like!?

I love how personable Graham makes her ghosts. It’s hard to imagine them not being seen and it is one of the reasons I keep coming back to her novels. Ringo is an ex-Civil War soldier who helps Dillon with his investigations because of a debit owed to Dillon’s ancestor. Ringo maintains all his personality from his past life as well as a humorous outlook on his current decade. He can work the tv remote, let the dog out, and operates as a silent, unseen investigator for Dillon. I enjoyed reading Ringo, but he is not the only reason to pick up Nightwalker. The mystery was delightfully intricate. It spanned multiple generations, and involved hidden Native American gold and a classic salon shootout!

Now for the negative points…the story is predictable. Yep, I know that’s the reason why I decided to read Nightwalker but I also know that this may be annoying for some readers. And it is also the reason I will not read another Heather Graham novel for a few months. Now, do you know the insta-love that plagues YA? Expect plenty of that in Nightwalker. I actually caught myself rolling my eyes on multiple occasions. I get instant attraction. I believe in personal chemistry. I do not believe imagining a life with someone after 3 days of acquaintance is romantic. Just my opinion, and one of the other reasons Graham posts are few and far between.

Nightwalker is a fun read and the perfect novel for those in need of a light paranormal mystery. Any other Heather Graham fans? Which authors do you turn to for a ‘predictable’ read?

Lindsay

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The Night is Alive 

The Night is Alive

by Heather Graham

The Night Is Alive (Krewe of Hunters, #10)

MIDNIGHT IN SAVANNAH

It’s a city of beauty, history, hauntings. And one of the most haunted places in Savannah is a tavern called The Dragonslayer, built in the 1750s. The current owner, Gus Anderson, is a descendant of the original innkeeper and his pirate brother, Blue.

Gus summons his granddaughter, Abigail, home from Virginia, where she’s studying at the FBI Academy. When she arrives, she’s devastated to find him dead. Murdered. But Abby soon learns that Gus isn’t the only one to meet a brutal and untimely end; there’ve been at least two other victims. Then Captain Blue Anderson starts making ghostly appearances, and the FBI’s paranormal investigation unit, the Krewe of Hunters, sends in Agent Malachi Gordon.

Abby and Malachi have a similar ability to connect with the dead and a similar stubbornness. Sparks immediately begin to fly; sparks of attraction and discord. But as the death toll rises, they have to trust each other or they, too, might find themselves among the dead haunting old Savannah!

I like Heather Graham. I enjoy her quirky female leads and how she smoothly integrates her paranormal characters in to her mysteries. But, I will not be reading any more of her Krewe of Hunters books. The Night is Alive is the second Krewe of Hunters novel reviewed on Sand Between the Pages.  You can check out Phantom Evil here.

I grabbed the audio version of The Night is Alive, Krewe of Hunters #10,  from the local library, drawn in by the promise of Savannah history and pirate ghosts. I never say no to pirate ghosts y’all!  I just wish I actually liked The Night is Alive.

Let me start with the positive points. The Night is Alive delivered on Savannah history. The detailed passages of the city streets, the historic buildings, and underground tunnels had me ready to book a vacation. I had no problem feeling like I was exploring alongside Malachi and Abby. Graham also didn’t disappoint when it came to pirate lore. My husband and I are both big fans of pirate history and Blue’s scenes were definitely my favorite.

Now on to why I will not be reading any more Krewe of Hunters novels. I do not like the Krewe characters.  They are undeveloped, leaving them to read very two dimensional and forced.  I can’t get invested in their stories.  Abby is a new FBI agent driven to prove herself and we are constantly reminded of this fact by EVERYONE in the story.  She never actually acted like a trained FBI agent until she faced off with the killer so we definitely needed all those reminders, but it gets old fast.  Her relationship with Malachi didn’t feel remotely realistic.  They went from hating each other, to hooking up, to maybe dating, and then to discussing marriage in the course of three weeks.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? This is the second time insta-love has been a major plot device in my Krewe of Hunters reading.  No, just no.  Don’t worry, I didn’t give away any spoilers.  You know where Abby and Malachi’s relationship is going the minute they meet.  Here are some actual spoilers though, so avert your eyes if you must!  I do not like what Graham did with her serial killer.  She did everything she could to divert suspicion from this character so that the reveal would be all the more shocking.  No, it wasn’t shocking.  It was irritating and I was rightly pissed when I realized whodunit.  And then, THEN, she kills off the serial killer before explaining his motivations.  I know this happens in real life, but it just felt lazy coupled with the complete lack of character development throughout the entire story.  UHG!

Now don’t let this review deter you from Graham’s stand alone and Harrison Investigation novels.  I enjoy many of them and they are pretty well developed!  I just can’t get behind her Krewe of Hunters series.  Are you a Heather Graham fan?  What do you think of her new series?

Lindsay

Unhallowed Ground

Unhallowed Ground

by Heather Graham

Unhallowed Ground (Harrison Investigation, #7)

When Sarah McKinley is finally able to buy and restore the historic Florida mansion that she has always loved, she dismisses the horror stories of past residents vanishing and a long-dead housekeeper who practiced black magic. Then, in the midst of renovations, she makes a grim discovery. Hidden within the walls of Sarah’s dream house are the remains of dozens of bodies — some dating back over a century.

The door to the past is blown wide open when Caleb Anderson, a private investigator, shows up at the mansion. He believes several current missing-persons cases are linked to the house and its dark past. Working together to find the connection and stop a contemporary killer, Sarah and Caleb are compelled to research the history of the haunted house, growing closer to each other even as the solution to the murders eludes them.

But there is one who knows the truth — a spirit who follows every move they make. Soon Caleb begins to fear that if he can’t stay a step ahead, he could lose Sarah to a killer with an ability to transcend time in a quest for blood and sacrifice.

I first read Unhallowed Ground before I started writing reviews.  I loved it.  I re-read it a few months ago and I still enjoyed it even after approaching it with a reviewer’s mindset.  Heather Graham is great at ghost stories, and from what I can tell, good with the romance genre.  I enjoy Unhallowed Ground for the ghost story; I invite all romance readers to chime in with their opinions!

Unhallowed Ground tells the story of Sarah, a young historian living in St. Augustine, Florida.  She is happily working as a tour guide and restoring her historic home when Caleb enters her life.  Caleb has a unique connection to the spirit world and is sent to St. Augustine in search of a missing girl.  Soon the two are entwined in mysteries, both ancient and modern, and they must find the answers to keep Sarah safe.

I love Sarah’s antique home and have begged my husband, to no avail, to let me have one of my own.  He definitely wouldn’t say yes after reading this story!  Graham does a wonderful job of describing modern settings that are entrenched with history.  This allows readers to feel connected to the ghost story throughout the novel and fuels the suspense.  This writing style keeps me coming back to the novel year after year.

I also enjoy reading Sarah and Caleb.  Caleb is the best written character in Unhallowed Ground and I found his straight forward personality refreshing.  I easily connected with  Sarah’s passion for history (I am a historian after all).  That is all I’m going to say about the characters because I feel that getting to know them as your reading makes Unhallowed Ground more enjoyable.  My biggest complaint is that the ending read too fast.  I like to soak in the ‘who dunnit’ revelation, so I was a little disappointed at the speed but happy to be totally surprised at the end.

Unhallowed Ground is a great spooky cozy mystery to take with you on a late fall vacation.  Who else has read Unhallowed Ground?

Lindsay

Phantom Evil

Phantom Evil

by Heather Graham

Phantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters, #1)

A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators… and a murder no one else can crack.

Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.

A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.

But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house — once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.

In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives… and their immortal souls.

I am ready for October and all the fun stuff that the fall season brings! But I’ll wait until later to wax poetic about my love for October. Summers are hot and humid in Florida and they leave me longing for cool breezes, cloudy days, and all things pumpkin! So I decided to post a book that falls into my normal genres for October.

I enjoy Heather Graham; I am not her biggest fan because I am not much of a romance reader but I do find her paranormal mysteries engaging. I am one of those people who enjoys getting the heebie-jeebies every once in a while. So I picked up a audio copy of Phantom Evil, book one of Graham’s new Krewe of Hunters series.

It was not my favorite. The storyline was different and interesting but Phantom Evil just really didn’t do anything for me compared to some of Graham’s other novels. I have identified a number of reasons for this. First, six people is too many team members. Graham was forced to constantly re-introduce each main and secondary character each time they talked. This diminished the uniqueness of each and left most team members acting as story padding. Second, the romance between Jackson and Angela happens far too fast. Many of you might be yelling ‘SPOILERS’ but believe me, you know it’s going to happen by the end of the first chapter. I liked the chemistry between the two but the speed of the relationship reminded me of an amped up High School romance; both characters were dreaming of forever by the end of the story. The time frame, a couple of weeks, seemed far too short for such level headed adults. Third, the mystery and ghost story were both engaging but they just did not seem to work well together. I think part of that is due to my last point: Graham did not include enough about New Orleans. I was wanting to feel, hear, and smell the city and it just wasn’t there for me.

It was still a fun story. I love the mansion where the majority of the action occurs. I can totally see myself touring such a place, but I am a fan of ‘ghost tours.’ I like how Graham’s descriptions give me the heebie-jeebies! The scenes in the attic and basement kept me riveted to the story and still give me chills when I recall them. The ghost story was well done and I recommend Phantom Evil if you also enjoy such stories! Pick up Phantom Evil for a good spooky story to enjoy on a chilly fall evening.

Who else has read Phantom Evil? What Heather Graham book would you recommend?

Lindsay