This is the second time I read the book (first time when it came out) and I enjoyed it as much or more this round.
As the name suggests, this definitely hits the paranormal definition with a ghost hunter and a poltergiest phenomenon and it adds a nice bit of mystery to the mix as Jamis tries to find out what is causing Stephanie to linger as a “hungry ghost”. There was a nice bit of misdirection with who- at first the reader thinks that there is Stephanie trapped by a more malevolent ghost but as things unravel, that isn’t the case. The mystery worked particularly well as there was enough doubt (and plausibility) over what happened to Stephanie.
I really enjoyed Jamis- she was such an enigma at times. So confident on the surface but with a lot going on in that brain of hers. She added a really interesting level of gravitas to the idea of ghost hunting and watching her work things out (on a personal level as well as sorting out the murder) gave the story depth. She’s got a lot of baggage and Ms Jensen does a really great job of providing just enough exposition to help flesh out Jamis and seeding things may be explored in the next book(s).
From a paranormal perspective, there was definitely a creep factor – the poltergeist phenomena with Jamis and others actually physically as well as emotionally impacted. I wouldn’t have gone into the house in the first place – let alone return. The scenes in the house, with the malevolent force, worked particularly well – it gave the right level of unease and creepiness. And as Jamis dug deeper into the truth, it became more sad than creepy and you couldn’t help but sympathize with poltergeist. It’s really refreshing to read a book that takes the paranormal subject matter seriously – so even if you don’t believe in ghosts, the characters and plot makes it plausible – and not completely over the top. This book was a bit more intellectual – with some interesting ideas and information on budhism, death and the after life and I rather liked it as it gave a better grounding and it made some of the synchronicity of events and people easier to accept.
From a romance standpoint, this was pretty light – Jamis becomes captivated with Johnna early on and its more about being in love then falling in love. It was an instant attract/love – but it was paced in such a way that they both decided to take it slow and not rush in as most instaloves. I’m looking forward to the next book and how their relationship evolves.
This is definitely a strong debut and hits everything you would expect for a paranormal lesfic – with the understanding that the romance is just starting and will be further explored in the next book.