If you like ghosts, with a dash of romance and topped with some murder mystery intrigue, then Spirited by Mary Behre just might be the novel for you. It is jam packed with activity from start to finish, making it a rather quick read. While, I can’t say it’s a new favorite of mine, or that I’ll read the rest of the Tidewater series, it did do its job of entertaining me.
She’s running from who she is…
All Jules Scott wants is to live a normal, quiet life–preferably one that doesn’t include ghosts. Jules’s ability for communicating with the dead has brought her nothing but trouble. Despite her best efforts, needy spirits always find her and draw her into their otherworldly drama. When one implicates her in a series of deadly crimes, she may need to entrust her secrets to the person least likely to believe her…
He’ll do whatever it takes to catch her.
Detective Seth English can’t get distracted from the big case he’s working on, not even by his alluring new neighbor. He doesn’t believe that Jules had anything to do with the string of robberies-turned-murders that he’s investigating, but when she keeps showing up in all the wrong places, his gut tells him she knows more than she’s letting on. To solve his case, he’ll need to expose what the sexy redhead is hiding–no matter how impossible the truth may be…
The storyline itself was engaging enough; it was everything else that was the issue. For me, the set up for each aspect of the storyline felt lacking, and with so much packed into a short space of time, I never felt fully connected. It wasn’t rushed, per say, just a lot happening that could use more information. For instance, there weren’t enough inner monologues for either Jules or Seth for me to really see or get to know them (or any character really). In fact, a few times what I thought I knew, contradicted with what happened. Like Jules was coming off a divorce and she had major trust issues with police. So much so, that she was uncomfortable being around officers and freaks out over the idea of having to go to the police station. Yet she was comfortable being around Seth, a cop, from the first second, and within no time was in a relationship with him? There needs to be more shown to make me believe in that happening. Or that she dresses up like a hooker for a party but can’t say the word shit. Oh, and without the extra description of the characters themselves, the sex scenes weren’t as believable or as good as they could have been. Then there weren’t enough suspenseful scenes to make me fear for Jules or even worry about whom the bad guy was or what he was going to do next.
There was also a subplot, I won’t give away what, but I will say it was a huge part of the story that is never solved. This part frustrated me most of all because it seems super important but then fizzles to nothing. It made me wonder why this was even mentioned in the first place. Maybe everything is explained in the next novel, Guarded, I don’t know. If each of these elements were expanded with more details, more character and scene building, Spirited would have been much better.
Problems aside, Spirited was still entertaining enough that I finished it. I was never bored since there was always something happening. I just never connected with what was happening, if that makes sense. Except the ghosts, I loved Ms. Behre’s vision on ghosts and mediums. Watching Jules communicate with them and how they affected her was very entertaining. The temperature drops, she gets a headache and her world becomes a bit distorted until the spirit leaves. If it’s angry, it will screech at her causing migraine level pain. You feel sorry for her torment, especially since she has to hide the affects from everyone that is around her. These scenes were really cool and my favorite parts of the novel. They weren’t over done or too kooky to be believable. In fact, this is what kept my attention and made me keep reading. I felt that they were better described, or at least explained, in a way that I could actually ‘see’ what was happening, more than any other part of the story. Course, this may be because I happen to like ghosts and it has nothing to do with the writing during these scenes.
As for the characters, even though I never connected with them, they still managed to keep my attention. I liked that Jules, though afraid for her life, wasn’t a pansy and did what she had to survive. Seth, Mr. Hard and Tough Detective, wore lamb pj’s because they were a gift from his mom. That was my favorite little detail, by the way. Every character interacted with each other and the world around them very realistically. They had just enough of a spark to seem real and help the storyline continue even with the missing pieces.
Spirited may be needing a little extra oomph, but it’s still worth giving a try anyway. Ms. Behre’s take on mediums communicating with ghosts is both creepy and endearing. She totally made me want to have this skill, even with the migraines it causes. The characters had enough quirks about them that they weren’t entirely boring. And the storyline with it’s ‘who done it’ mystery, had me convinced I knew the culprit, when I really didn’t. It’s the bones of the story that make this novel read worthy, even though it lacks more details.