Review: A Glimmer of Ghosts
Thursday, January 7, 2021

A Glimmer of Ghosts (The Hell Gate Series)A Glimmer of Ghosts by Hunter J. Skye
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Part Ghostbusters, part Beauty and the Beast, A Glimmer of Ghosts is Hunter J. Skye's debut novel and promises to be the start of an impressive career. If you like ghost stories and paranormal romance, this book is for you.

The action starts off right away in a haunted graveyard, where main character Mel shows off her very unique talent. Mel suffers from narcolepsy, which causes her no end of trouble, but when in the stage between wake and sleep, she has the ability to see and sometimes interact with the spirits of the dead. This challenge-turned-strength was well thought out and expertly executed, both grounding the reader in the real world ramifications of her disorder and elevating it to the status of a superpower.

Aside from Mel, there is a cast of friends-slash-coworkers who work with Mel to produce a paranormal investigation reality show. I liked this group in general, but the fact that they were all male and all attractive made it somewhat difficult to differentiate them at first. They developed more distinctive personalities as the story progressed, but then they were notably absent from the climax. I was left a bit unsure whether Mel intended to interact with them in the future, and whether I should expect to see them in the next book of the series.

The final character on the protagonist side is the corporeal ghost of Colonel William Grayford. As Mel's main romantic interest, the scenes with Grayford are always charged and steamy. I will say that if you have triggers about forced physical contact, you may not appreciate the scene of their first meeting. Ms. Skye did a wonderful job portraying Grayford as a man from a bygone era. His demeanor, dress, and speech patterns make him easy to picture as a colonial man of grit and dignity.

On the antagonist side of the story, Mel faces both the straightforward villain of Madam Landry -- a beautiful, terrible ghost Mel meets in the first scene -- and the more elusive Shadow that stalks Mel when she enters the hypnagogic state that allows her to interact with ghosts.

The world of the story centers around the town of Portsmouth, Virginia, and the level of detail Ms. Skye put into her descriptions shows either a personal familiarity or a professional level of research. Either way, it was beautifully executed.

Ms. Skye's writing was clear, well edited, and engaging. There were a few sections that I felt dragged a little in the descriptions, such as the details of clothing and a drawn out sex scene near the end of the book. On the flip side, there were a couple scenes that didn't have quite enough detail to ground me, so I found the interactions or settings difficult to picture. But the writing was smooth and fast-paced enough that even if a glitch in the details knocked me out of the story I didn't have any trouble jumping back in.

Overall, I enjoyed this read and I'm eager for the next installment of the Hell Gate series.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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