Author: Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Sequel to Pale as a Ghost
A Duncan Andrews Thriller
Private detective Duncan Andrews has the home-team advantage when it comes to solving paranormal crimes: His best friend, Gina, is a centuries-old witch. His dog is a zombie. And his boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost.
Duncan certainly has his work cut out for him with this case. Someone’s been using the skull of a powerful wizard to control animals, and whoever it is, they’re not out to set up a petting zoo. For Gina, the case hits close to home—she knows just how dangerous it is, since the wizard was her father.
Just when he thinks they’re close to breaking the case, tragedy strikes, leaving Gina in a coma. Then, after years as a ghost, Robbie finally decides to move on, leaving Duncan to protect young Ashton Marsh, the victim of several strange animal attacks. Suddenly Duncan is working without his supernatural safety net. Without his friends, can Duncan defeat the power of Eleazar’s skull and keep Ashton alive? Or will the struggle for his life end in broken bodies as well as broken hearts?
Book two in the Duncan Andrews series by Stephen Osborne is even more entertaining than book one.
Having met all of the main characters in Duncan’s life in the first book, “Pale as a Ghost”—his boyfriend, Robbie; his zombie bulldog, Daisy; his (normal) friend Nick, and his BFF Gina, a three-hundred-year-old witch—the reader is quickly pulled into a fast-past narrative triggered by the theft of Gina’s father’s skull.
Yeah, I know that doesn’t make sense, but believe me, it will.
Although I confess that I’m disappointed at the way Stephen Osborne has decided to treat vampires in the paranormal world he’s created, I am more than pleased with the way he comes up with novel variations on age old paranormal themes related to magic and possession and “Full House” reruns. Yes. I did say that, because there’s a very strange sitcom vibe to these books that convinces me that this series would make an amazing television show.
Which, since Duncan is gay, will never happen. And if they did a straight version of it, I wouldn’t watch.
Osborne is a clever, amusing writer, and yet he’s not without emotional heft. For all the sly banter that fills the book, the central romance (between Andrews and his long-dead boyfriend, believe it or not) is poignant and appealing. The relationship between these two young men, regardless of the fact that one is a ghost, is as sweet and loving as you could want.
In spite of a couple of problems.
Central to the book’s appeal is that Duncan Andrews is a nice guy with a few extra gifts that most people don’t have. He’s comfortable in his skin and perfectly adjusted as a gay man, which makes him pleasant to be with. If he has a flaw, it’s that he eagerly avoids difficult emotional issues by losing himself in his work.
Wow, that’s unusual for a man, isn’t it?
As was true of book one, no cliffhanger leaves us in suspense at the end of this book, which, for all the comic aspects, is a little more harrowing than one might expect.
What makes us want to read the next book immediately is simply that this one is such fun.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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