4 out of 4 stars
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In the wake of a nearly fatal gunshot and her marriage falling apart, former police officer Trudy Hicks now specializes in paranormal cases. At this book’s start, Trudy receives a letter from a couple in Chicago. They’ve recently purchased and begun renovations on an old house, but things in the house are strange. Voices come from nowhere. A dog snarls and barks. Footsteps clunk across the floors. Trudy takes the case and meets the handsome Jason Young, whose been hired to perform standard surveillance during the investigation. Jason firmly believes there is a non-paranormal explanation for the strange events, but the house and Trudy soon change his mind. What happened here, and what will happen if Trudy doesn’t figure it out soon?
Trudy Hicks: Ghost Hunter by Lori Zaremba is the first in a romantic paranormal mystery series for adult audiences, and I’m already excited for book two. I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. This book was unique and featured some truly realistic characters.
I’ll start with the storyline. Most of the events take place in the present day. It was neat to see the paranormal investigation take place with all its appropriate equipment (infrared camera, among other things). The rest of the book is written from the perspectives of the ghosts when they were alive. So, we see the events actually play out. I loved this aspect. Rather than a lot of conversations about what happened years ago, I got to witness the past with all the emotions from the characters involved. This added some fantastic depth to the story.
The characters in both timelines felt real. In the present, Trudy’s team worked together well but not without hiccups. Trudy stayed focused on the task at hand, but that didn’t stop her from mulling over her to-do list in the middle of investigating. Leslie, Trudy’s best friend and a lawyer, reached a personal breaking point of fear and had to take some time to recover. Dana, a psychic medium, and Patrick, the team’s photographer, added their own quirks to the story. The characters in the past also felt real. Vanessa, the house’s previous owner, discovered her husband was gay, which wasn’t an issue until both their families started pressuring them for a grandchild. Vanessa, with her husband’s blessing, found someone to get her with child, which started an entire saga of problems. Though there were fewer chapters told in the past, those events felt like their own fleshed-out story. I was just as engrossed in the past as I was in the present.
Trudy’s relationship with Jason was the most refreshing and surprising part of the book for me. It was clear from the moment they met that romance was on the horizon. The kickoff kiss that jumpstarted the romance came sooner than I expected, but the relationship proceeded to unfold beautifully. Rather than the flying sparks of a no-strings-attached fling, Trudy and Jason’s feelings developed into a support system that became more as things progressed. I found myself cheering for their budding love.
The romance and mystery intertwined very well, but there were places where both felt a bit underdeveloped. As I said, the romance started sooner than I thought based on what was going on. The mystery itself also didn’t feel like the traditional kind. For those wanting a search for clues and discarding of red herrings, you won’t necessarily find that here. Rather, this book focused on the unraveling of a historical puzzle to figure out what the ghosts needed to move on. This sometimes seemed like the mystery involved waiting for the ghosts to decide they wanted to talk, which kind of took some of the investigating out of the plot. Overall, the writing and story could have been a bit tighter, but these things didn’t hinder my reading experience.
The book was definitely professionally edited. I noticed only a small handful of missing words, and it is with great pleasure that I rate Trudy Hicks: Ghost Hunter 4 out of 4 stars. I considered giving it 3 for the slightly underdeveloped feel, but in the end, I enjoyed the book too much to take away a star. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is for adults only. If you enjoy paranormal romances, mysteries, or a blend of the two, you’ll likely enjoy this book. Also, if you like watching paranormal investigation shows, this book might be appealing. Though this isn’t the kind of thing I often read, I’m hooked and looking forward to the next book in this series.
Trudy Hicks: Ghost Hunter
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