Book Review -- Ghost Shadow

Title:  Ghost Shadow
Author:  Heather Graham
Genre:  Mystery/suspense
Pages:  Paperback 351
Published:  2010
Opening Lines:  "The blue light made the hallway dark and eerie, though just beyond the doors to the museum, the magic sunlight of the island glowed upon tourists and the few locals who considered early morning to be a time before noon."

"There are those who walk among us who are no longer alive, but not yet crossed over.  They seek retribution . . . vengeance . . . to warn.  Among the living, few intuit their presence.

"Katie O'Hara is one who can.

"As she's drawn deeper and deeper into a gruesome years-old murder, whispered warnings from a spectral friend become  more and more insistent.  But Katie must uncover the truth: could David Beckett really be guilty of his fiancee's murder?

"Worse—the body count's rising on the Island of Bones, and the dead seem to be reenacting some macabre tableaux from history.  The danger is increasing by the moment—especially as Katie finds herself irresistibly drawn to David, who may be responsible for more than just one killing . . ."
~ Jacket copy




Thoughts:  After finishing Deadly Night, I couldn't get enough of Heather Graham's storytelling.  Unfortunately, our local bookstore didn't have the next in the series, so I ended up grabbing this one.  The whole concept of seeing/talking to dead people can prove to be extremely creepy, which is what I was looking for.  

I have not read anymore of her books, so my knowledge is somewhat limited.  That being said, however, I feel as though all of her characters are cut from the same cloth.  Her male lead is the classic Byronic hero—tall, dark, handsome, and brooding—and have a seemingly tough exterior.  However, once the female lead starts to find that the man is actually a lot more sensitive and "sensual."  Further, the female leads always in their 20s, own their own business, have some connection to the murder/mystery, and have some sort of supernatural power that allows them to figure out the crime.  Due to that, her character seem rather flat.  However, they all have a unique back-story outside of the main plot line, which gives them some three-dimensional depth.  Along those lines, I don't feel that there is enough time for full character development.  Yes they are dealing with a crazy occurrence, but they don't seem to change after all is said and done.  It feels more like a snapshot of on section of their life. And, for the most part, all of the characters seem to know each other, be friends, or passing acquaintances.

The books tend to jump around in the POV.  It is all a third person; however, it transfers between the killer and the two leads.  At times, it is hard to delineate between the characters because their voices are so similar.  

As with Deadly Night, the major theme is history and local legend.  From the timeline at the beginning of the novel, the theme was already set.  In some ways, theme was quite unique (mostly in how she chose to play it out); however, in relation to her other other, it was predictable.

For the most part, the plot is extremely formulaic.  It follows the typical story arc without doing anything original.  And, in comparison to Deadly Night, it was already plotted out and known.  For this reason, the antagonist was easily guessed or identified.

As for the sub-plots, yes.  As with the last book, the sub-plot follows the budding romance between the make and female lead.  This sub-plot also follows the main arc hand-in-hand.

In this book, she uses a lot of symbolism.  The staging of the murders, to me, felt as though she was pointing to something larger.  Unfortunately, I don't think she really followed it through.  Deliberately using the Tanzler/De Hoyos and Robert the Doll stories felt as though she was really opening up for something.  Sadly, it just didn't happen.

As with the other book, she is very, very focused on her setting.  She relies heavily on the local history and legends.  Without the setting, I honestly don't think the book would work.  In a lot of ways, I think the setting is as much a character as anything else.  In some ways, more so.

Another thing that I noted was how heavily she relies on law enforcement.  Well it lends a credible/more realistic twist to the books, I wonder whether it has become a crutch.  Further, it almost appears as though she has written herself into a corner.

While there are issues with the book, I did end up enjoying it.  The rich history and the setting made me desire to jump on a plane and head to Key West!  Even though the books are predictable, they are still fun, fast paced, and entertaining.  I find myself getting fully caught up in the story and not wanting to put it down.  In fact, I have another of her books sitting on my coffee table waiting to be read ^_^


Rating:
Currently: Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham
Current Pages:
7700
Current Progress:

21/50 books



Love, Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.