Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens

Posted September 8, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 84 Comments

Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens
Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens
Series: Ghost Seer #2
Published by Berkley
Published on: September 2, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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What lies beneath…

Clare Cermak’s adjusting to a new man in her life—and a lot of ghosts. The passing of Clare’s aunt gave way to a sizeable inheritance of not only money, but also the ability to communicate with the dead. At the same time, she met Zach Slade, a private detective with a rough past, and just like Clare, he’s not yet ready to accept her gift—or his own.

But Clare has another matter to look into. A multimillionaire needs her help after relocating an old ghost town to his mountain estate. The bones of a murdered prospector are making nightly appearances in his guests’ beds. When the gold miner’s ghost contacts Clare, she promises to help find the name of his killer—but someone doesn't want the past revealed and might find her first…

Infuriating Fail @!-#

I know it’s only September, but I am beyond confident when I say that GHOST LAYER was my least favourite novel of 2014, and here’s why. Clare is an incredibly dense heroine; she doesn’t learn from her mistakes, and consistently made really poor judgement calls throughout this book. The author also used a ridiculous amount of caps to basically point out key elements to readers which I found beyond insulting. The romantic elements didn’t jive at all either. The mystery itself wasn’t horrible, albeit very predictable; the only good aspect of the whole story was Enzo, the ghost dog, but even then, it was unfortunate that nearly his entire dialogue was written in capital letters. I wasn’t sold on this series after the first installment, but decided to give 2 a try because I believe in second chances. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on ME!

Owens delved a bit deeper into her GHOST SEER lore by elaborating on the different types of spooks, what causes them to Go Bad, and the reasons why they don’t always move on. Some additional background is also given on Clare’s family tree such as the specifics of her ancestress’ deal with the Other, and some weird perks like getting a heads up when their deaths are imminent. The story itself was decently constructed, and I like how there’s always some truth to these books; in this case it was that the town of Curly Wolf was based on a real place—Buckskin Joe which is near Alma, Colorado. There were two main plot threads in this installment that ran alongside each other, and although I did enjoy the extra intrigue, I was able to pinpoint who the villain was very early on. The author brought in a couple of secondary characters in an attempt to make the list of suspects longer, but I wasn’t fooled.

My main issue was with Clare (obviously!); she had absolutely zero redeeming quality in my opinion. I can deal with weak heroines who are coming into their powers, but not stupid ones. Her unwillingness to accept her gift really rubbed me the wrong way. I get that she’s in denial, however, when you’re told that you must either accept your abilities or risk death or insanity, the stakes are just too high to ignore. Normally, I’m all for girl power, and hate it when the guy tries to ‘protect’ the protagonist, but in this case Zach is an ex-cop, and actually knows what he’s talking about. Someone is trying to kill Clare, so Slade advises her to stay in her room, and wear a bullet proof vest. Instead, she gets mad at him, completely disregards his warnings, and almost gets blown up by a car bomb. This heroine is seriously too stupid to live.

I really liked Zach as a character, but the more time he spent with Cermak, the more my opinion of him declined. He’s too smart to be falling in love with such an idiot! I struggled a great deal with the romantic aspects of this story because even though there’s LOTS of sex, their relationship was severely lacking in the chemistry department. Plus, Clare kept getting mad at Slade for refusing to reveal ALL of his secrets, yet they have only been dating for a couple of weeks. I found that this couple was horribly unbalanced, and felt sorry for Zach because he was like an abused dog that keeps coming back to his owner hoping to finally do right by them even though the situation is beyond hopeless. And, speaking of canines, I loved Enzo, but Robin D. Owens needs to learn how to use italics for emphasis, and understand the importance of showing vs. telling.


The cons of GHOST LAYER far outweighed its pros which is why I will not be continuing this series. Maybe there are readers out there who enjoy this author’s writing style, but it is definitely not for me.

Ghost Seer Series

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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84 responses to “Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens

    • The first review you read, was it by Kimberly (The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)? I was so happy when I saw her feedback, because for a while I was thinking that something was wrong with me. LOL

    • I gave the first installment a pass because I’m usually more lenient on book 1’s, but Ghost Layer was just plain bad. The author obviously didn’t read all of the negative feedback on Amazon, and take readers’ opinions into consideration.

    • It is unfortunate, but I’d rather the series has an epic fail early on than several so-so installments that keep me reading in the vain hope that the story will get better.

  1. I’m sorry this one did not work well for you Carmel. I’ve not had the chance to check out the first book in the series, but I may hold off now. I feel the same about heroines, it’s okay to come into their powers (struggle ect) BUT they need to own it eventually and not consistently make really poor judgement calls throughout the story. I can see how this would be fustrating for sure. Thanks for the honest review 🙂
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Adult Book Review: No Limits by Lori Foster

  2. I saw your review on GR and just loved it. There is a difference between annoying character and just a plain stupid one. Can’t love them all though, sorry it didn’t work for you Carmel.

  3. I haven’t heard much about this series but I don’t think it would be one i’d really love. I can see myself have quite a few problems with it. Especially with the MC. I get it when characters struggle and make poor choices and all that but when it happens ALL THE TIME i just loose my patience! Shame this one wasn’t what you were expecting!
    Lily recently posted…Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3):Review

  4. Errrm, yeah well, I clearly get why this book didn’t work for you at all and I’m only thinking of running away in the opposite direction of this book and the entire series… Caps lock annoy me to no end on books unless they’re Death speaking on the Discworld…

    • Maybe it’s because I received an ARC, and the caps goes away in the final version, but after a less than stellar experience, I won’t be sinking my money into buying a copy to double-check.

  5. I was curious to see the reviews about this one because I liked the first one but I had many problems with it as well and at the end I think I did well because now I’ll pass…

    • There’s a time & place for caps lock, and this was NOT it. You might have been even more frustrated with Ghost Layer than I was on account of you actually being knowledgeable of Buckskin Joe.

  6. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    I first read your review of this on Goodreads before I saw it on here, and I was thinking yikes, this book isn’t looking that hot at all, especially the character. Then I come here and I think this is the first time I’ve seen you pull out the FAIL icon. Brilliant! BTW, if you didn’t read the worst book of 2014 until you hit September, I say it’s actually been a pretty good year so far 🙂

  7. Hahaha, oh my god. Too stupid to live is right! I was planning on reading the first book in this series but honestly…the only good thing about reading a shitty book is that you can warn others away. And I’ve been warned! There are plenty of lovable canine sidekicks that don’t speak almost exclusively in caps. Although Oberon from the Iron Druid Chronicles is the only one I can think of right now!
    Danya recently posted…Review: The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

    • I’ve never actually read an Iron Druid novel (audiobooks FTW!), but I am glad to learn that my buddy Oberon doesn’t talk in caps. I hate trashing a book, however this one had it coming. LOL

  8. Gah. TSTL heroines make me want to pull out several strands of my hair and eat them with pleasure. “I found that this couple was horribly unbalanced and felt sorry for Zach because he was like an abused dog that keeps coming back to his owner” I don’t even know what to say, Carmel. Sigh. So sorry the next installment didn’t improve at all but at least you’re dropping the series altogether. Here’s hoping your next read is stronger!
    Sarah recently posted…Review: The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello

    • Zach seemed like a relatively smart man, so I really couldn’t understand for the life of me why he kept coming back to Clare for more. And yeah, I hear ya on the hair eating. LOL!

  9. Everything you mentioned in the first paragraph of your review makes me cross this off my list! I don’t care for stubborn and dumb heroines…LOL Well that sucks, I had high hopes when I saw the cover (I think you had it on your new releases or I saw it on another blog) but there are too many negatives for me to even give it a try. Sorry this was a bummer!
    Lori recently posted…Book Promo: Throwback Thursday with Bound By Night by Larissa Ione

  10. Oh so there actually is a UF series that I could skip. I never thought I’ll see one! But really I don’t like when characters don’t learn from their mistakes and also poor judgement is not my fave thing. I have read in some guest post that it’s a golden rule of writing: show, don’t tell and I totally agree. Sorry it was a disappointment. Great review, Carmel 🙂

    • I just felt like the author was talking down to me a lot which was weird considering how clueless Clare was. I’m reading a werewolf book now, and it is AWESOME!

    • I didn’t love Clare in book 1, but I figured if she grew into her powers in Ghost Layer, and things jived a bit better with Zach, then this series might have a chance. Alas, that did NOT happen.

    • In that case, I wouldn’t make reading Ghost Seer a priority if I were you, or maybe just skip it entirely, and free the spot up for a more worthwhile book.

  11. Berls from Fantasy is More  

    I’m bummed because I enjoyed book 1 – wasn’t necessarily sold, either, but saw good potential. But this is not the first not-so-good review I’ve read and particularly when it comes to Claire 🙁 The caps thing is annoying (and insulting) but I wouldn’t have known about it because I listened to this first book, loved the narration and planned to listen to the next one. I probably still will, maybe audio makes it better? But I’m not in any rush either. Great review 🙂
    Berls recently posted…Teaser Tuesdays | Austenland Teaser

    • A kick ass narrator can make a huge different, but I’m not convinced that that would have saved this book for me. I’ll be sure to check out your review though!