PJV Quickie: What started out as an intriguing read quickly turned into a disaster. While the premise was interesting, the heroine quickly became unlovable and her ghost husband even more so at times. If the characters don’t work, the book doesn’t work.
Review: The first few chapters were actually very promising. The characters were introduced after a brief intense dream sequence with Max, the main character. It’s not just a dream though; she’s experiencing a murder through the victim’s eyes! When she awakens, her husband Cameron (who just so happens to be a ghost) is there for her and it’s easy to see that they care about each other. Max is quick to deny that she has any sort of supernatural powers and she continues to fight against it even after the victim, Wendy, is discovered in the exact place as in the “dream”. Even though she’s skeptical about her gifts, Max’s first move is to try and take over the Wendy’s job in order to try and find her killer. Ok, fair enough, this would probably be a good way to get inside info; a risky move though, since asking too many invasive questions would make you look guilty as hell. On top of that, she inserts herself effectively into the lives of Wendy’s husband, Hal, and her lover, Nick, and other people close to her. So either she’s investigating the murder, or she’s a coldblooded killer who wanted to take over her victim’s life. Which is exactly what it looked like; seriously, if I was a cop on this case I would have been getting a warrant for her arrest. There is a cop that shows interest in her, Detective Witt, but it’s his OTHER head that’s interested in her, if you know what I mean.
Most of the problems I had with this book weren’t with the actual plot, but with the characters. One minute I would be thinking how clever Max was, then this would happen:
“I don’t get it. You’ve questioned everyone down there. What makes you think I’ll get any further than you?”
“You’re a helluva lot prettier.”
She laughed. “That doesn’t cut jack with Theresa, our sweet teenage…” She avoided using the word bimbo. It wasn’t polite. “You’d get more out of her than I’d ever want.”
He gave her that lopsided grin again. “STDs aren’t what I’m looking for.”
“STDs?” (pg. 63 of eBook)
Really Max? You don’t know what STDs are? Ok, keep that in mind, because next time the detective uses an acronym he obviously remembers and clarifies.
“He was with the father of the victim during the three-hour window surrounding the ME’s – sorry, medical examiner’s – estimated time of death.”
“I know what an ME is.” TV was useful for some things.” (pg. 65 of eBook)
Maybe I’m nitpicking, but come on. She acts like, “Duh, of COURSE I know what ME stands for. I’m not stupid!”, and yet a few pages earlier she couldn’t figure out what Detective Witt meant by the term “STD”. Max also tended to get turned on in the strangest circumstances. There are plenty of examples; for instance, Detective Witt shows up at her door and questions her about a murder, and Max was the last one to see the victim alive. An impromptu interrogation is totally an appropriate time to let your mind wander to things of a sexual nature, especially about the man who sort of thinks you killed another person.
Her legs were bare beneath the long, cotton sleep shirt. She felt naked, exposed. But her body buzzed with awareness. Not good, especially considering why the man was at her front door.” (pg. 108, eBook)
Well, at least she acknowledges the fact that it is strange. There are plenty of other times, but I think you get the gist.
One of the biggest problems I had with this book, however, was Cameron. At times he seemed so sweet and genuinely wanted to do whatever he could to help her. Then the next moment he would turn into megajerk. For example, one minute he is pushing her to move on and date other guys (Detective Witt, in particular), then when he became irritated he basically turned to slut-shaming her. Here, Max and Cameron are discussing what Wendy’s lover might want with Max:
“He wants sex.”
“I’m serious. He has ulterior motives.”
“I’m serious too. I think you should give it to him.”
“You’re out of your mind.”
“Why? You give it to every other Tom, Dick, and Harry that can dance the pants off you.” (pg. 79, eBook)
Wow, charming. I can see why she was so enamored with the guy. There’s another scene where Cameron gets her to the verge of orgasm (yes, they have strange ghost dream sex) and then refuses to go any further unless she agrees to anal sex. His argument is that she said she wanted to be punished, and since I’m assuming here that he’s not getting any pleasure out of this since he’s only projecting things into her head, he must just want to punish her as well and show that he still has some control over her. Sure, she eventually agrees to it, but that whole scene left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Seriously, the more I learned about these characters, the less I liked them.
Overall I was seriously disappointed in this book. It received good ratings on Amazon, but as I said, the characters for me were just a deal breaker. I did like the main plot though, especially Max’s psychic abilities; unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to save this read.
Verdict: If you can get past a main character who is annoying at times and makes some really awful decisions, and don’t find her ghost husband’s behavior appalling, then you might enjoy this one.