>> Friday, June 22, 2012
A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators…and a murder no one else can crack.As I was looking at the list of new July releases at Dear Author (fantastic resource, by the way!), Heather Graham's latest caught my eye. According to the blurb, The Unspoken has a mystery from long ago and a related one in the present day, both seemingly something to do with some sort of curse of the Pharaohs. It sounded like fun, but I saw it was part of an ongoing series called the Krewe of Hunters, so I thought I'd check out the opening book in the series (which my library happened to have) first.
Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.
A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.
But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans's French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house—once the site of a serial killer's grisly work.
In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives…and their immortal souls.
Phantom Evil has similar elements to what had attracted me to The Unspoken. No, no pharaohs, but the mystery concerns a house with a gruesome history, and a supposed suicide in the present day that our protagonists and their newly formed team of paranormal investigators are looking into.
I loved the idea of it, both of the mystery itself and of the team, which was a quite intriguing combination of cops and more atypical members such as a musician and a filming expert. The execution, though... argh!
Graham has been writing for years, and she's got dozens of books to her credit. I hadn't read her before, but with an author like that, I would expect at least competent writing. I'm sorry to say, I did not get that here. It was bad. The dialogue, especially, was excruciating: clunky, boring and, too often, nonsensical. I kept stopping and going "huh??".
I pushed through for a while, reading almost a hundred pages, but in addition to the bad dialogue, the characters were flat, the attraction between the main characters was all tell and no show, and everything seemed really shallow, with the author completely glossing over things like the heroine suddenly grabbing a pickaxe and digging up an old skeleton from the basement. It was all just so matter-of-fact that it just drove me crazy. I mean, whoa, she just somehow knew and grabbed a pickaxe and went at it, and no one seems to have much to say about it?
Worst of all, pickaxes, skeletons, ghosts and all, I was bored. Oh, well, scratch that one from my wish list.
MY GRADE: DNF.