Love, Like Ghosts by Ally Blue
Truth. Lies. A century-old mystery. What a tangled web…
A Bay City Paranormal Investigations story.
At age eleven, Adrian Broussard accidentally used his mind to open a portal to another dimension. Now, ten years later, he’s successfully harnessed his strong psychokinetic abilities. In the process, he’s learned the lessons which have become the guiding principles of his life. Absolute truth. Absolute control. Always.
Sticking to his personal code of ethics has never been a problem, until two chance meetings—one with a hundred-year-old ghost, one with a handsome, very-much-alive man—turn his orderly existence upside down.
Having grown up in a family of paranormal investigators, Adrian is intrigued by the spirit of Lyndon Groome and determined to solve the mystery of his death. Greg Woodhall, however, affects Adrian in unpredictable ways. Not only does his every touch challenge Adrian’s hard-won control over his abilities, his company quickly becomes a light in Adrian’s lonely life.
As the mystery surrounding Lyndon’s death turns sinister, Adrian’s relationship with Greg deepens into something serious. Something Adrian wants to keep. But intimacy isn’t as easy as honesty, and when the heart’s involved, the line between right and wrong can blur.
[I like this cover. 2 guys, no naked chests, great coloring. More please.]
The Bay City Series has an interesting change when the son, Adrian, becomes the main character and Sam and Bo take a backseat. For the most part this works very well with an engaging new couple and an interesting mystery. The writing is very classically Ally Blue and fans are likely to enjoy the new offering as much, if not more, than others in the series. The story has a few jarring moments since the timeline leaps ahead almost a decade yet this is not a futuristic theme. Additionally due to the leap in time, this story is one of the few in the series that can be on its own without any missing context.
When readers last saw Adrian he was 11 years old and struggling to contain his sudden and very strong psychokinetic powers. Now as a college student, Adrian is determined to solve the mystery of a local ghost. His impromptu investigation has him bumping up against Greg, a theatre major with a flair for drama and sex appeal. Adrian struggles with how to tell Greg about both his powers and the ghost but soon discovers Greg is keeping his own secrets. The two must decide whether their budding relationship is worth taking unfamiliar leaps of trust.
Interestingly this particular offering is definitely more romance and less horror/paranormal than the majority of the series. This is likely to win some fans but don’t worry, the ghost aspects of the story are bloody and gory enough that fans of the paranormal have ample material to enjoy as well. The writing is consistent and in keeping with the author’s style which is interesting with a lot of visual clues and information. The detail and setting of North Carolina comes alive vividly and crisply with hues and landscapes that draw the reader’s eye. The campus setting is well telegraphed and leaves no doubt at any point just where the book is taking place.
The mixture of ghost story and romance is mostly well done but the two are often very separate. Adrian and Greg disagree on the existence of ghosts early on in the story and thus Adrian is pursuing the history of the ghost mostly on his own. This works for Adrian’s character as he is very emotional and angst filled. Fans of the author know her love of angsty men and drama filled relationships and this offering delivers very well on those known and loved themes. Adrian is such a loner that he feels more of a friendship and appeal towards a ghost than other living, breathing men. His reliance on and need for the ghost is more or less intense depending on his relationship with Greg. When Greg and Adrian are happy and doing well, Adrian can distance himself from the ghost. But when Greg and Adrian are fighting, emotionally Adrian depends on the presence and understanding of the ghost for support.
This dichotomy is interesting and sets up a very angst filled relationship between Adrian and Greg. Both men are still young and immature, making classic mistakes in a first relationship. They are eager, clumsy, affectionate, and careless. They both make mistakes and accuse each other of the very problems they are causing. Adrian and Greg both accuse the other of lying and keeping secrets while they each do the same. They fail to see the irony of such but the angst and drama is kept in check with the mystery of the ghost so the emotion doesn’t overwhelm the story and characters. The writing keeps the characters interesting without wallowing too long in the misery of their mistakes.
Due to the changed time line there are a few jarring moments in the story. Several of these came in the reminders of the time frame, such as the comment about Adrian being 11 in 2005. Others came in the family dynamic with Adrian’s parents being close, happy, and getting along. Considering the animosity and ill-will cultivated over the course of multiple books, the now happy Brady Bunch feeling to the family is jarring. Especially when Adrian’s father warns Adrian about being too serious too soon while simultaneously saying how happy he is that Adrian found a boyfriend. The juxtaposition of the scene didn’t work for the story or the characters. However, thankfully these scenes are only a small portion of the book and when the focus returns to Adrian and Greg, the engaging narrative resumes.
Despite a few stumbles, this is an enjoyable book for fans of the author and the series. I’m not sure where to go from here except I can see Greg and Adrian carrying the series from here as their relationship certainly has more turmoil to be portrayed. If you haven’t checked out this author, this is a good introduction to her style.
Get it HERE!