Author: Adrienne Wilder
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Adrienne Wilder
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/20/2012
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal
*This book was previously published with a different cover.
Charlie Harrington not only sees the dead and speaks with them, he can make them real. Lucky for him, because the love of his life, Ethan, isn’t among the living.
While their relationship is unusual, things are good between them until Charlie is accused of murder and Detective Daniel Briggs walks into his life. Then, for the first time in years, Charlie is attracted to someone alive.
Ethan knows he should step aside and let Charlie live his life, but he just can’t give Charlie up–even if staying with Charlie may eventually kill him.
I can always count on Adrienne Wilder to deliver compelling, action-packed reads, and this paranormal crime thriller is a creative m/m romance as told through the first-person POV of a dead man–Ethan.
Ethan and his lover, powerful medium Charlie Harrington, have been in a relationship for quite a while, despite the fact that Ethan is a ghost. He is strongly tied to Charlie, both physically as an entity and emotionally as a lover. Their connection may be odd, but it’s solid. However, when demons from Charlie’s past threaten their very existence and bring Detective Daniel Briggs into their lives, Ethan seriously questions the logic of their relationship and whether or not it’s fair–or safe–for them to continue as they are.
With well-crafted prose filled with vivid details and sharp, satisfying dialogue, the author reveals Charlie’s tragic past as a medium and victim, piece by piece. The reader is treated to a narrative that, despite its point of view, brings the characters of Charlie and Briggs to life with lush clarity. Ethan’s ability to understand auras and to “read” people helps to draw the reader into the emotions and motives of the other players. Ethan also assists in discovering the mysteries and secrets surrounding Charlie’s history and how they are connected to his unraveling present. I liked the fact that though Ethan is a ghost, he has a clear purpose in the story and isn’t relegated to being just a spirit that hangs around.
Though this is a paranormal crime thriller, at its heart is the love story between Ethan and Charlie and the triangle that develops as Briggs and Charlie acknowledge their attraction to one another. Ethan’s guilt over his relationship with Charlie is palpable and heartbreaking. As he says in his own words:
“Cause for Charlie life would never be normal. He was in love with a dead man, and a dead man was in love with him.”
Ethan’s love for Charlie is potent and real, even as he questions staying with Charlie and subjecting him to half a life as a living being. The futility and madness of their relationship becomes even clearer to Ethan as Briggs and Charlie grow closer. The sex scenes are beautifully written, though a bit odd due to the nature of the participants. Readers should be aware that they aren’t the run-of-the-mill intimate encounters; however, I found them to be creative and true expressions of the characters’ feelings for one another. I would have liked a little more development of the backstory between Charlie and Ethan, though. There is some explanation of how they met and connected, but further expansion of how their emotional closeness grew would have made for a richer understanding of their relationship.
The crime thriller aspect of this tale is well-balanced with the romance and steadily gathers steam as it escalates towards a harrowing and stunning climax. The author excels at providing a suspenseful finish heavily laden with dangerous paranormal threats, fast-paced action, and frightening images worthy of a feature film.
It is at this point, however, that I found I had an issue. The ending was, in a word, interesting. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t satisfy me as I had hoped. I would have liked to see a bit more of a reaction from the characters to the major changes that occur, along with more guilt and remorse over the sacrifices that are made. It felt rushed and written with relatively low emotional intensity, considering the impact the events have upon the characters’ lives.
Overall, I felt that He Speaks Dead was a cleverly-written, well-balanced paranormal crime thriller m/m romance. With interesting, sympathetic characters, lots of action, and a captivating love story, it is a great read for Halloween or any time of year.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
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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