book review

“Chasing Ghosts” by Dean Cole

Rating: A good book!

Blurb:

Haunted pasts. Terrifying apparitions. Dark secrets. Quentin Strange is … well, strange. But it isn’t just his anachronistic sayings and dress sense, the fact that he’s a socially awkward, book-loving loner who’s possibly still a virgin at nearly thirty. He’s seeing and hearing things. Odd things. Ghostly things.

Getting the gig as photographer for the Cricklewood Gazette, he travels with his new partner, journalist Katrina (make sure you call her Kat) Brannigan, to Hilderley Manor, an enormous manor house nestled in the remote countryside of Northern England that is believed to be one of Britain’s most haunted buildings. The pair join a ghost hunting team and a group of fellow guests for a long weekend of ghostly activities.

But something dark haunts the draughty corridors of the house. And it links to a decades-old mystery that is about to be uncovered.

A mystery like no other. A story of the supernatural. Of death, and what it does to the living. The first book in a series, Chasing Ghosts is a quirky British haunted house mystery exploring the paranormal elements of our world with touches of LGBT romance, humour and horror.

Review:

This book is impeccably edited. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything if the story is shit. Don’t worry—it isn’t!

The dynamic between introverted Quentin and go-getter Kat is fun, but I love that the author goes deeper. We find out a bit about Quentin’s tragic past and why Kat (not Katrina) is a self-admitted and unashamed bitch. And, honestly, I like her.

The imagery in this book is wonderful, though sometimes the author waxes poetic. In fact, that’s my only real criticism. Some of the passages are really wordy and a bit difficult to sift through.

Here’s one example:

“After we snacked, conversed small talk and sat down for a briefing of the evening’s schedule with Carrie, Kat, and I went for a walk along the tree canopied lanes with close beech hedgerows her Mini had sped along the journey up here.”

I think I had to read that four times to understand it.

The book also gets very philosophical at times, which makes me wonder if the author isn’t using it as a platform to share his own personal musings.

I can’t blame him. It’s an author’s prerogative. However, I was kind of annoyed at the fact that I was aware of it. One or two great philosophical ideas per book gives me plenty to think about without feeling like I’m in a Criticism & Theory class. Is that too much to ask for from a mystery novel with supernatural elements and a main character who is questioning just about everything to do with life and death?

Maybe.

But I love mysteries and I love ghost stories so I am still in.

At the beginning of the story, I felt a bit like I was watching Scooby Doo. It was very “Here’s the setting, here are the players, here is the mystery. Dun dun dun!” But just when I thought it might annoy me, the author came in with “…I couldn’t help feeling like a member of the mystery solving gang from Scooby-Doo.”

I think he realized it, and I do love an author that can poke fun at themselves, so full redemption there.

The romantic tension between Will and Quentin is amazing. I love all my books with a dose of romance. By the end my heart was aching for both of them, and I really hope to see more of them together in the next book. Maybe naked. Maybe going all the way. Just saying.

(When is that coming out, btw, Mr. Cole??)

The story kept me in suspense. While I felt a few clues should have been obvious to Quentin, he certainly wasn’t TSTL—and honestly he was going through so much personal stuff I don’t blame him for not being on his A-game. I suspected bits and pieces of the big reveal but I was chomping at the bit to learn the full story.

I love that Quentin has so much character development. He really comes into his own during the course of the story, and I do hope we get to see Esther in the future. I want her to be his mentor for more than just one book.

In conclusion, if I hide in the kitchen because I can’t stop reading, you know it’s getting at least a four-star rating from me. Highly recommend.

Favorite Lines:

  • “…it didn’t stop my nerves tightening like elastic bands as dusk evanesced into night.”
  • “It takes more than a logical mind to understand how the universe works.”
  • “We put them on a posthumous pedestal we never would have done when they were alive, forgetting there’s a world full of other people out there.”

Follow That Author!

Random Thoughts:

(These are notes that did not affect my enjoyment of the story, but I wrote them down anyway.)

  • I wish the author had left the “Carrie, Norman, Annie” names as an easter egg rather than explaining their origins.
  • How creepy is it that I was eating a pain au chocolat while Quentin was eating a pain au chocolat. Is the author actually psychic??
  • I’m annoyed by how few pictures Quentin takes as a photographer.

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