I love a gripping mystery with a convincing dose of romantic complications to make things interesting. This is my first foray into the writing of Ms. Graham and I think I made a lucky pick because this book knocked my socks off. Talk about an edge of your seat mystery where anyone or anything could be the killer. Is the killer a ghost? A disturbed entity from the town’s many onsite battles come to right a wrong? Enter an intrepid paranormal investigator with a past as fascinating as any ghost. Darcy is not a typical heroine and I was completely enthralled. When I first met her as a teenager, my sympathies were engaged almost immediately. They were firmly in her corner right after the funeral. The rest is a journey like no other.
Matt, the sheriff and male lead opposite Darcy is a facts man. He doesn’t believe in the paranormal and is a firm believer that everything can be explained by science, and usually a human is behind any crime. But he was forced to admit something weird was going on so he called a good friend in for help. First, he didn’t expect Darcy in place of his friend; his reaction was fun to watch. Second, the poor guy had a real hard time coming to grips that maybe, just maybe, his house wasn’t as safe and benign as he believed. Watching him slowly face the unimaginable was both painful and kind of funny, in a dark kind of way. He liked Darcy, but didn’t want to; he trusted her but didn’t and he wanted to believe her and in her, but that meant that he has to accept that he, as sheriff, and a take charge alpha male, did not have all the answers. Not only that, but you can’t cuff a ghost. Poor Matt. He was a bit discombobulated. The plot sure got interesting when he could sink his law teeth into something he could understand and deal with, but it wasn’t enough to solve the mystery. There was more, much more to come and I was glued to this book’s pages.
I enjoyed the slow buildup of tension, the red herrings and the challenge of trying to figure out just what or who could be behind all the weirdness at Melody House. I liked meeting all the secondary characters and Ms. Graham imbued her cast with unique and individual characteristics that contributed to the feel and flow of the novel. By the time I read three fourths of the book, I finally had an inkling as to a possible motive, victim and culprit. I was right on only one account which meant I was taken by surprise. I loved it!
Another treat were the sparks that ignite between Matt and Darcy. Of course it reached a flashpoint and their coming together was ever so satisfying. It wasn’t smooth, easy or without its bumps but it sure was romantic and passionate. Eventually, Matt comes around and a happy ever after is guaranteed. It’s who helped Matt past that final hurdle in believing that made me sniffle a time or two. I was filled with a lot of emotions at that point and I credit that to the excellent writing skill of Ms. Graham.
If readers have yet to discover Ms. Graham, then they are missing out. I was missing out. No more. Haunted has whet my appetite for more books by this author. This was an amazing read that’s made an indelible impression and I can’t wait to read more. I can wholeheartedly recommend this novel to romantic suspense/mystery readers everywhere. It’s a winner.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.