P.S. I Spook You (The Spectral Files #1) by S.E. Harmon
This is a great story with some really unfortunate mistakes that should have been caught by a proof-reader. So I’m conflicted as hell about how to rate this one.
I’ve read several of Harmon’s books and she’s the author of one of my all-time, favourite stories, the Rules of Possession duet; The Blueprint and A Deeper Blue. And no matter the storyline, her writing has always been top-notch.
And yes, P.S. I Spook You is also high quality. It has a skillfully constructed story structure, the overall writing is great, the premise of the story is awesome and the plot development is too. But it’s also a suspense/detective story where certain details can’t be fumbled without ruining the entire thing.
Synopsis: Rain Christiansen is a profiler at FBI. He also sees ghosts. That little tidbit of information is about to ruin his entire career. His boss gives him an ultimatum, and that’s how Rain finds himself back in his old home town of Brickell Bay and working alongside his ex, Detective Danny McKenna. Rain is there to assist with a cold-case. The disappearance of a teenage girl. But his feelings for Danny are still there, and they seem to be reciprocated. However, Rain’s secret – his paranormal abilities – and the actual cause of their break-up years ago, isn’t going away. And Rain is tired of pretending to be normal.
This is a super sweet, low-angst story with the best dynamic between Rain and Danny. You can’t not love them both. Rain is a bit snarky, but not over the top. And Danny is the sweet hunk who loves him anyway. They’re super cute and I just wanted them to have their happily ever after. But there were also plenty of well developed supporting characters that added depth and credibility to the world-building. Rain’s family for one, and Danny’s co-workers in the cold-case unit. So all in all, it’s a solid read.
But then there were the mistakes.
First of all. The (presumed) murder case in question is a cold-case. Amy disappeared five years prior to the events in the book. The whole purpose of the story is to solve the mystery, so the details matter. But with just a few slip-ups, the entire timeline is messed up. For example, when Rain interviews Amy’s art teacher (a.k.a. Rain’s own mom), she mentions noticing how – a year ago – Amy’s heart necklace was split. Then there’s the interview with Amy’s mother and step-dad. Rain and Danny asks about what kind of relationship the step-dad and Amy have. Present tense. And the step-dad answers in the same tense. But nobody talks about stuff from 5 years ago like they’re current. The same is true for Rain’s and Danny’s interactions. They’ve been broken up for years, haven’t seen each other at all. And still Rain uses present tense when saying how Danny talks about his sister in his sleep sometimes.
There were other little things. A brother named Aaron who’s then referred to as Austin to finally go back to being named Aaron again. There’s the word sheik that was obviously meant to be chic. And then in the end, after the final show-down, Rain asks about the well-being of a person that wasn’t present or even mentioned when it all went down, but apparently sustained minor injuries anyway but would heal just fine.
So yeah. Unfortunately, the mistakes were a little too glaring to be ignored.
But despite all that, I still loved this book and I can still heartily recommend it to lovers of mystery and romance. I’ve already started in on the sequel; Principles of Spookology, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it had more observant beta-readers than its prequel.