Ghost Seer by Robin D. Owens
Series: Ghost Seer #1
Published by Berkley
Published on: April 1, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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There’s just something about Clare. Apart from the ghosts…
When her eccentric aunt passes away, no-nonsense accountant Clare Cermac inherits more than just a small fortune. She receives the gift of communicating with ghosts. While Clare may not believe in spirits, it’s hard to overlook the shadowy talking dog appearing on her bed or spectral cowboys tipping their hats to her in the streets of Denver. And when she locks eyes with sexy—and living—Zach Slade, there’s certainly no ignoring him either.
A former deputy sheriff, Zach is leaving a painful past behind in Montana for a new life in Denver as a private investigator, a job that has him crossing paths with beautiful Clare. Not that she minds. After the restless ghost of a Wild West gunman demands her assistance, Clare finds herself needing Zach more and more—and not just for help.
I was first drawn to this title because of its eye-catching cover and interesting premise; the fact that it’s book 1 in a brand new series, and features a ghost dog spirit guide were definite pluses as well. The pacing and romance were a little slow moving at times, but overall I enjoyed learning about the infamous vigilante Joseph “Jack” Slade and exploring the rules that make up Robin D. Owens’ spectral universe. I also liked the police angle that the ex-deputy sheriff brought to the story even though at times his refusal to believe his own eyes was infuriating.
GHOST SEER isn’t your typical ghost tale in that there are a lot of laws that govern Clare’s “gift”. For one, should Cermac fail to accept her new found sight, she’ll die. Two: if she refuses to help her spectral charges, she’ll go mad. Definitely a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type scenario. Clare’s not offered much of a choice in the matter, and as a result, her whole life is turned upside down in only a few days. It’d be a big adjustment for anyone and I thought the author did a great job of illustrating Cermac’s reluctance to believe in the impossible. She even goes so far as to hire a top-of-the-line shrink in the hopes of conquering her crazy. Another interesting aspect of her gift is that it’s limited to a specific time period—between 1850 and 1900, to be exact—the Wild West’s hey days which was a clever way of explaining why Clare only sees cowboy ghosts.
Zach Slade is an interesting character and I liked the police POV that he brought to the story line. Owens aptly describes his “cop face” and I enjoyed seeing different situations from his perspective because he points things out that I probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. I also liked how the author incorporated the One for Sorrow nursery rhyme into the narrative by foreshadowing future events with different numbers of crows. However, I couldn’t help but be annoyed by Slade’s inability to accept the paranormal in his life. I realize that as an ex-deputy sheriff he’s overly rational, but his outright denial of hard evidence came off as contradictory.
The pacing was a little slower than I would have liked, and at times the plot seemed a little too straightforward. There’s an unexpected element of danger thrown in towards the end that was a bit of a tough sell because its connection to the main story arc was tenuous at best. The romance felt halted in that there’s an instant connection between the two characters, but then it’s quickly snuffed out, only to be rekindled and smothered several more times before finally settling somewhere in the middle. My favourite aspect was by far Enzo—the ghost dog—he’s a fun mix of wise spirit guide and playful canine companion. He manages to be both freaky and cute at the same time.
I enjoyed the multitude of unique elements that GHOST SEER brings to the table, although the delivery could have been slightly better in my opinion. Mind you, this series is just getting started so, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what GHOST LAYER has to offer in September.