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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Presence (Heather Graham)

Normally, I wouldn't read books by authors primarily known for writing romance novels.  However, there are two that I do read- Catherine Coulter, because she her "FBI Thriller" series is well written, and Heather Graham's supernatural series.

When Toni and her friends buy an old castle so they can operate tours of the place, they decide to create a fictional laird of the manor and reenact his brutal murder of his adulterous wife.  Unfortunately, the real master of the house arrives and interupts their well intentioned plans.  This wouldn't be so bad if Toni wasn't be haunted by a ghostly figure... who looks exactly like the real laird.  Soon, Toni, laird MacNiall, and her friends are drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse as a killer stalks the forest nearby... a killer that may be getting too close to Toni...

"The Presence" is the second in Heather Graham's supernatural themed, "Harrison Investigations" series.  I enjoyed the first book, "Haunted," and figured I'd give this one a try as well.  I found it enjoyable and interesting.

The style of writing is noticeably geared towards women, but not so much that men can't enjoy it as well.  You just need to keep in mind that it is, by default, intened for a female audience, so it isn't going to be heavy on testosterone laden action words and adrenalined filled action scenes.  The action is more subtle and moves fairly smoothly- which keeps you reading without realizing that time is passing by.  I read this book cover to cover in one sitting and lost track of the time.

It helps that characters are interesting, varied, and plausible.  You come to like Toni, her friends, and the laird Bruce MacNiall.  All the characters are different, with their own distinct personalities.  They're likable, but flawed enough that you'll suspect each and every one of them of being the killer at one point or another.  The chemistry between the characters is enjoyable and believable as well.

The story itself is interesting, and suspenseful with enough twists to keep you wondering and guessing.  It's fluid and easy to read as well, while being descriptive enough to paint a clear picture of the setting and mood of the scene.  I really liked how she blended the flashbacks and the present time into a single, cohesive storyline.

If you enjoy ghost stories and mysteries- with a touch of romance thrown in, then "The Presence" may be the sort of book you'll enjoy.  I'm putting it in "The Good".

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