I’ve never thought of myself as a big Urban Fantasy or Paranormal book fan. I’ve read a handful of vampire books (The Vampire Dairies, Twilight saga, and a few others), but despite my fascination with vampires and ghosts, it’s not a genre I have gravitated towards. In light of this, I was a little unsure when I read the description for Dark and Disorderly by Bernita Harris. None-the-less I found myself wanting to give something new a try and I’m glad I did! Dark and Disorderly is the first book in Harris’ new series entitled The Adventures of Lillie St. Clair and it without a doubt left me wanting more!
“I was standing there naked when my dead husband walked into my bathroom…”
Lillie St. Claire is a Talent, one of the rare few who can permanently dispatch the spirits of the dead that walk the earth. Her skills are in demand in a haunted country, where a plague of ghosts is becoming a civic nuisance.
Those skills bring her into conflict with frightened citizens who view Talents as near-demons. Her husband comes to see her as a Freak; so when Nathan dies after a car crash, she is relieved to be free of his increasingly vicious presence. Lillie expects to be haunted by Nathan’s ghost, but not to become Suspect #1 for her husband’s murder and reanimation.
But what’s most surprising of all is the growing attraction between her and psi-crime detective John Thresher. He thinks that Lillie killed Nathan–and Nathan must agree, because his zombie is seeking revenge. Now she and Thresher must work together to solve her husband’s murder–before his corpse kills her…
From the very first page of Dark and Disorderly, Bernita Harris had me intrigued and a little creped out. This was a bit of a surprise to me because I hadn’t been scared by a book since I read Stephen King’s Pet Sematary in the 7th grade. It was because of this I knew from page one I was going to LOVE this book…there is nothing better than a story that pulls you in from the opening sentences and doesn’t let go until the very last word.
Dark and Disorderly is about Lillie St. Claire, a Talent, who is able to help/force ghosts (depending on the type of ghost) cross over to the other side. Having a Talent’s trademark silver hair, Lillie sticks out amongst the townspeople and is looked down upon for her abilities, even as they ask her for help getting rid of the ever growing epidemic of ghosts. Not to mention she’s being haunted by her late husband who was not only abusive to her when he was living, but is now terrorizing her in his death…with the help of someone alive that obviously wants Lillie dead. However, despite all that Lillie is facing (I haven’t even scratched the surface), she remains a strong character throughout the story. No matter what happens to her she picks herself up and keeps on going, which is something I really liked and respected.
One of Lillie’s few friends is a man named Ted Dempster, who shares an office with her at the Municipal Building. I really loved Lillie’s relationship with Ted. He doesn’t look down upon her like most of the town and is actually there for her and sticks up for her when she needs him. I found it nice to see someone accept Lillie for who she is – it was heartwarming to see just how much Ted cares for her.
Now on the other hand Lillie’s relationship with detective John Thresher is anything but heartwarming. They are raw animal magnetism, anger and sexual tension…well at least in the beginning. Torn between whether or not Lillie is really in trouble or if she murdered her husband, Thresher struggles to understand his feelings for Lillie. As for Lillie she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Thresher, but does everything in her power to keep him at bay. The slow simmering build between these two was absolutely fascinating. I can’t wait to see what happens with them next.
Overall, I can honestly say that Dark and Disorderly was near impossible for me to put down. Its plot moved very quickly and had numerous twists and turns. I found it refreshing to read a story that wasn’t extremely predictable and managed to keep me on my toes. I can’t wait for the next installment in the series as the first book is without a doubt a must read!