Friday, April 22, 2011

Review: Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

Book Description:

A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he’s gathered know a little of the otherworldly each has honed a psychic talent of their own.

Jackson Crowe, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can’t tell if Adam’s demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. Despite his link to the realm of spirits, he’s well aware that the living commit the most heinous crimes, with spiritualist charlatans existing merely to fool and seduce the unwary.

To counterbalance Jackson’s careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam’s call to New Orleans is strong.

The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.

Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the pair into danger of losing their lives…and their immortal souls.

My Review: 

The truth is always out there, you just had to find it~ Jackson, Phantom Evil 

Graham absolutely captured the mood for a ghost story very early on and in some scenes I could swear that I heard the crack of an ax, or see the outline of ghostly children. The combination of past and present adds to the atmospheric feel of the story. But this is more than a ghost story about a historical serial killer from the civil war, a subplot that gave the Krewe plenty of work, this was a modern murder mystery with a well rounded cast of characters. Amid all the suspense and plot twists are a group of people that I cared about, that I wanted to know. 

Angela is great because she is completely unaware of how she might come across to others, how she might affect them, and is just so open to all the possibilities.  She isn't awful or anything, quite the opposite, but her first meeting with Jackson is unusual. It has taken some serious work, dealing with her past tragedy, but she is finally comfortable in her own skin and in her abilities. Her attraction to Jackson happens fairly quickly and I appreciated how that relationship developed within the confines of solving a mystery.

Jackson has been closed off for so long, was beginning to think of himself as emotionless, when the opportunity to join a paranormal unit was presented and accepted. It was quite a journey watching him unfold and fluctuate between skeptic and believer. His attraction to Angela felt easy and right all along. I wouldn't describe it as a violent passion which would have been inappropriate considering the violent nature of murder, but more a gentle romance that evolves into a solid, strong and very real love.

Phantom Evil is the first installment in what I hope will be a long lived new series in paranormal romantic suspense.

For complete book details visit Heather Graham's website or Harlequin

*This book was obtained for review via NetGalley
*Reviewed by Anna Dougherty for Bite Club

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