I read the blurb and thought this sounded perfect for a fun, fall lighter spooky read. I hadn’t tried the author so that added to my interest. The book set things up in the beginning exactly in a way to pull me in- cozy mystery meets romance with a hint of magical realism. Now, while my early excitement waned a tad, I still had a good time with the story.
The book opens with Mike Stone returning to the States after his last overseas tour of duty. He’s weary of heart for the task he needs to do. He has come to the small old Virginia town of Banshee Creek to deliver a gift from beyond the grave from his best buddy Cole Hunt to the woman who was Cole’s fiancee and Mike’s secret love. He caught one look at Abby Reed up on stage in Germany while he was on leave and fell into love only to discover she was with Cole. He could only play her friend and share grief after Cole was killed. One doesn’t encroach upon your best friend’s girl even if she is now free especially since she was so in love with Cole, right?
Abby Reed is a music-loving free spirited gal from her quirky colored house to her love of Banshee Creek’s famous legend and past time of being a paranormal lover’s dream haunting grounds. She has found a home in Cole’s home town. But when handsome and straight-edged, Mike Stone, arrives unexpectedly on her doorstep, she realizes that there is more between them than a long-distance friendship. Mike is her opposite and she can see all the conspiracy theory-aliens among us-ghost hunting crowd that are her friends has him skeptical and nervous, but he plays along for Halloween Banshee Creek-style and is willing to explore the heat between them. He even challenges her to pursue her heart- her music, but he doesn’t plan on sticking around. She’ll have to make her and Banshee Creek irresistible.
Alright, as I said, this one is a bit of everything. And maybe because it was a bit of everything, it suffered a little. It had dragging spots and kept me constantly in a state of waiting for something more to happen or needing more.
Now that said, I loved the early description of a small town gigged out to the nines for Halloween, the hints of spookiness, the fun and light crowd of quirky characters, and Mike’s observations of it all coming from a man who grew up in foster homes and his only home had been the military. He was such a straight arrow and it was hilarious to see these nutty people from his perspective who believed in The Mothman, aliens, and everything legendary or paranormal and were willing to drop everything to go on ghost hunts. He was easy going and just rolled with it making him so much more likeable.
As to the characters, the larger cast of characters were the fun and quirky types that I do enjoy in a small town situation. Caine the big bad biker looking guy who led a group of searchers and explorers and actually had a strong academic background beneath it all, Abby’s best friend Cassie who was flirty, snarky and also had a brilliant brain, and the others- all so colorful and lively.
Mike was a good strong lead. He loves the idea of ‘home’ and wants to find it, but he is convinced that he can’t have it with Abby since she was his best buddies’ gal and forbidden fruit for so long. Abby was fun and I enjoyed her connection with her folk music and her town, but I felt Mike went a bit deeper than she did. For much of the book, I didn’t feel it went much beyond lust and it didn’t, but then she did have that epiphany moment in the end. The epilogue was the right touch to finish convincing me that all would be well with this pair.
So, in the end, it was a fast read with a light plot and steamy couple set against an entertaining small town Halloween. Those who want a light distraction for the fall will find it with this story.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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