Book Critique - The Presence (Harrison Investigation #2)

For review of all books in this series: Go here

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: A neat blend of history and paranormal folded with romance and murder is what we see with this plot.

The Presence is a paranormal novel by Heather Graham published in September of 2004. The central plot revolves around Antoinette "Toni" Fraser - a theater director and history re-enactment specialist - and Laird Bruce MacNiall - the current Laird of the ancient rundown castle in Scotland.

Toni Fraser and her band of friends rent a dilapidated castle in a remote village of Tillingham in Scotland, refurbish it to give historical tours as well as do reenactments of history blended with some fiction. Little did Toni realize that everything she had written for their play was the truth that happened in past. Most importantly the current Laird Bruce MacNiall was very much alive contrary to what she was told and now ready to put a halt on their efforts.

But Laird MacNiall was not just facing these trespassers aka guests in his castle but a string of bodies that are being dumped in the forests nearby his castle. Who is murdering these young women? For what purpose? Was anyone from Toni's group involved in the scam that she and her friends were lured into? And above all who is the presence in the castle that haunts Toni?

Long before her Krewe of Hunters series (My review of the books I have read in that series so far are here), she had her Harrison Investigation Series headed by Adam Harrison. She credits him for starting the FBI special division called the Krewe of Hunters. While I was reading those books I was curious to read about Adam Harrison and books that came under his series. Finally this book gives a glimpse into Harrison Investigation Series, and technically becoming the second book in the series.

The book is written in a past and current mode. Heather Graham had frequent interludes bringing the reader to centuries old historical events while continuing with the current drama unfolding at the castle.

Obviously Heather Graham brings in her paranormal theme to this plot along with historical flair. The grand entrance she had Laird MacNiall made is nothing less than dramatic. And of course the instant love that Toni feels for Bruce comes with a bang that is hard for the reader to miss it.

Although the plot is strong with excellent placement of characters, there is a lot of repeating para phrasing; more of repeat conversations to keep explaining the same again and again as a new character enters the scene. Perhaps that is what happens when there are many people involved. It was getting tiring to read that repeat stuff but all in all the plot is strong and keeps the reader interested.

A neat blend of history and paranormal folded with romance and murder is what we see with this plot. Like always Heather Graham makes it chiller without making it gorier and at the same time makes it softly erotic with the undertones of sexual tension between the two lead characters.

On a side note, I see the paper insert at the end for a reader tow buy two bestselling novels and get a free gift along. Very nostalgic.

Another intriguing plot that would lead to a plethora of books in this series and entertaining the reader every step of the way.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. Toni Fraser's friends who band with her in making the dilapidated castle into an entertainment area are: Married couple Ryan Browne and Gina Browne, Gay couple David Fulton and Kevin Hart, and her cousin Thayer Fraser.

b. It is shown that Adam Harrison owns Harrison Investigations. 

c. Laird Bruce MacNiall's friend and one-time partner is Detective Inspector Robert Chamberlain. 

d. We get introduced to two of the investigators working for Adam Harrison - Darcy Stone and her husband Matt Stone. Having not read the other books in the series, I am dying to see which book tells their story in that series.

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