Sunday, March 13, 2016

Audiobook Review: Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

Phantom Evil 
by Heather Graham
Series: Krewe of Hunters #1
Pub. Date:  Aug. 25, 2015
Publisher:  Brilliance Audio
Narrator:  Jeffrey Cummings
Length:  10 hrs 11 min
Format:  Audiobook

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators... and a murder no one else can crack.

Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.

A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.

But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans's French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house — once the site of a serial killer's grisly work.

In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives... and their immortal souls. 

This is my first read from Heather Graham, and I wanted to get a book or two of hers under my belt before heading to the RT Convention next month. I saw that this series is set in New Orleans, so I knew it was a good place to start. Heather did a great job at infusing the story with the city's history, legends and customs. When done correctly, New Orleans can become a character of its own and I just love those types of settings where the city is brought to life.

So the Krewe of Hunters series is partly paranormal and partly mystery-detective... which is a bit outside my normal genre. But I find I am stepping away from romance a little more these days and venturing into suspense, thrillers and even historical fiction. Adam Harrison, from the Harrison Investigation series has put together this krewe to suss out the fact and fiction of crimes being attributed to the paranormal, or rumors thereof. The pecking order of this Krewe seems to start with Jackson Crowe, a federal agent with a professed skepticism of the paranormal, despite things he has experienced in his own life. Jackson's mixed heritage includes Cheyenne and Scot - a great combination but I just couldn't form a picture of him in my head. Give me a shout out if you have casting ideas. Former police officer Angela Hawkins is next in the hierarchy, picked for the krewe due to her keen intuition, logic and welcoming of any wee ghosties that may stop by to chat. There is also some romantic entanglement between Jackson and Angela that should be enough to satisfy the die-hard romance fans who are considering this book. (Yes, there is even some sexytime for those dirty birdies out there.) Other members of the team played the role of secondary characters in this book, but I think they will come to the foreground in future installments and have romantic entanglements of their own. I particularly like Jake Mallory, New Orleans musician, and Jenna Duffy, an Irish nurse.

In Phantom Evil, the krewe is investigating the death of a state senator's wife, which has been ruled a suicide. However the house where they reside on Dauphine Street has a long sordid history of being haunted, dating back to when it was occupied by a serial killer many years ago. The team must discover whether the senator's wife really killed herself, whether she was murdered, or whether the house really is haunted and the death was caused by paranormal means. The plot was developed well with a good mix of paranormal activity and regular old crime... and I didn't unravel the mystery in its entirety before the big reveal. So that's always good.

However my brain has been drifting off in a fog today. I was listening to this as I was trying to get some stuff prepared for the convention this month (i.e. making my Shutterfly book), and I kept losing focus on the story and having to go back and relisten to whole sections and then my mind would drift again. That sometimes happens with audiobooks and its always a shame because you lose some of your enjoyment of the story. But overall, this was a solid read and I am looking forward to the next installment.

Krewe of Hunters