>> Tuesday, July 31, 2007
TITLE: A Babe in Ghostland (excerpt)
AUTHOR: Lisa Cach
PAGES: 368 (I'm guessing the font in the print version is huge, because it didn't look very long in my e-book reader)
PUBLISHER: Pocket Star
SETTING: Contemporary Seattle
TYPE: Paranormal romance
REASON FOR READING: Cach was Author of the Month for July in my Historical Romance Chat group (after I unsubtly pressured Malvina into choosing her *g*)
Megan Barrows has retired from a brief career as a ghostbusting psychic and now uses her sixth sense to fill her Seattle antiques store with objects with happy pasts. After once nearly having the soul sucked out of her by a malevolent spirit, she prefers a quiet life.THE PLOT: Megan Barrows is the real thing, a medium with a gift for psychometry. However, after a traumatic experience during a particularly scary ghost hunt, she retired and now makes a living running an antique store.
Case Lambert is a real estate prospector who restores old houses, then sells them for profit. He has just bought a dilapidated mansion so amazing that he wants to keep it for himself, but the house appears to be haunted. Seriously haunted. A few inquiries lead him to Megan Barrows.
Megan at first refuses to help, but Case is a master of persuasion. Moving into the mansion, they discover that one of the ghosts has a thing for Case -- and there may be even more amorous spirits inside this veritable paranormal vortex. But it soon becomes clear that no one -- dead or alive -- can stop Megan and Case from ending up in each other's arms...
When Case Lambert approaches her for help investigating his possibly haunted house, Megan is initially disposed to refuse, and not just because the other ghost-hunter involved, the one who gave Case Megan's name is Eric, the guy she holds responsible for the traumatic experience I mentioned. In addition to this, Case first comes across as a close-minded skeptic to Megan -a jerkish close-minded skeptic, to boot.
But they make a bargain that if the house is proved to be haunted and if it's Megan's contribution and not Eric's that is key to solving this haunting, she'll get a bonus that will really make a difference in her shop. All three are to stay in the house in question during the investigation, and things really heat up the minute she moves in.
It's immediately clear that the haunting is very much real, and definitely not of the inoffensive variety. And that's not all that heats up: soon Megan comes to realize that Case is not the jerk she first thought him to be, and amid the danger of their investigation, their relationship gets more serious than either expected.
MY THOUGHTS: I liked this. I really, really liked this, even though it was completely different in tone to The Erotic Secrets of a French Maid, which I read and loved not long ago. TESOAFM was laugh-out-loud funny, a "sex comedy" which really worked. ABIG did have some very nice touches of humour, but it was more scary than funny, and this made for a very satisfying ghost story.
Like the other "investigation-of-a-haunted-house" I read recently, there's an excellent balance between the romance and character development and the plot about the haunting. Both are interesting and well done.
I really liked Megan. I especially appreciated her very level-headed approach to her psychic gifts. She's not an overwrought nut, seeing ghosts in everything, but neither is she in denial about what she can do. She's comfortable with knowing her capabilities, even if, because she knows the dangers involved, she's reluctant to use them. Case was a bit harder to warm up to, because like Megan, I thought he was a bit of a jerk at first. But Cach soon gives us more insight into him and I ended up understanding him much better.
This is a romance with a very narrow focus, as Case and Megan fall in love while pretty much locked inside the house, without any distractions other than the increasing dangers posed by the ghosts. Oh, and Eric, who was almost as interesting a character as they were. Now, he really was a jerk, but more because he was incredibly self-involved than because he was evil, and his inclusion in the book prevented the romance from being too claustrophobic, while providing some good opportunities for Case to show the way he'd come to care for Megan.
The details of the haunting were intriguing and original, and I was as interested in finding out what was going on as I was in the romance. It ended up not being as eerie and scary as it promised to be at the beginning, but it was a good resolution anyway.
MY GRADE: A very solid B+. Cach's voice is really clicking with me.