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Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: A neat blend of history and paranormal folded with romance and murder is what we see with this plot.
Haunted is the first book in the Harrison Investigation Series by the paranormal author Heather Graham published in September of 2003. The primary plot revolves around Darcy Tremayne - one of the investigators from Harrison Investigations - and Matt Stone - who owns Melody House famed to be haunted.
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. And now I have a few books from that series that I can read. This current book is the first in the series where it all began.
In the second book, The Presence, we get introduced to two of the investigators working for Adam Harrison - Darcy Stone and her husband Matt Stone. Finally I get to read their story.
Despite being skeptic, Matt Stone agrees for Harrison Investigations to come in and investigate the rumors of hauntings and the paranormal happenings in his home, historic Virginia estate called Melody House. As the Sherriff of the small town, Stoneyville in Virgina, he believed more in the harm and bad that living did to each other than the ghosts of the long dead. However, Darcy Tremayne, the pretty investigator was something else for Matt to handle.
Now he has to team up with Darcy to find this particular ghost causing trouble and more before it takes a drastic turn. But how does he handle the way his body and heart are turning towards Darcy - one who believes completely in ghosts. And a tale that as a reader thrilled, chilled and charmed me.
Yes, here was where everything began for Adam Harrison. We get to know about his past and about his son further more in this chapter - something that I have been reading in the subsequent books all along. Felt like a closure for me as a reader, although it was a really sad closure.
The other characters to this party are - Penny Sawyer (manager of the Melody House), Clint Stone (Matt's cousin), Sam Arden (caretaker), Carter Sutton (Clint's friend), Clara Issy (one of the housekeepers), David Jenner (of Jenner Equipment), Elizabeth Holmes (local psychic) and Delilah Dey (town council member).
First time I am reading about the equipment that Adam Harrison's team uses in their investigations like Trifield Meter. I remember such conversations in the Krewe of Hunters series, but this is the first time seeing this in this series by Heather Graham. And we actually get to see Adam actively involved in the investigation which thoroughly pleased me as a reader.
And as always Heather takes us through haunted stories from the past - some real, some fictional - keeping us entertained thoroughly during the plot. Although I should say some stories did raise hairs on the back of my neck.
With so many characters, there would be repeat paraphrasing of having to explain a particular scene to the remaining characters. However, it was lesser compared to some of her other books I read. She tied up all the inconsequential details in neatly towards the end of the plot as usual.
I was debating between two characters as my prime suspects from almost 1/3rd into the plot. To my utter delight it actually turned out to be one of them, although I had wanted the other character to be the murderer and tie it in a little more with Matt Stone's history. Oh well, I am not the writer, am I? :)
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, this time around the hard-card inserts are missing which readers could use to buy books.
Another intriguing plot that would lead to a plethora of books in this series and entertaining the reader every step of the way.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Another one of Adam Harrison's team is introduced in conversations - John. Will he become a main character in a future book is something we have to wait and see.
b. One of the character, Carter, refers to the ghost hunting conversation between Penny and Darcy as "playing Murder, She Wrote" when they were trying to understand what happened to one of Matt's ancestors - Arabella. I am an avid fan of that TV Series and watch it's reruns all the time. And also love to read the books based on the series. Here is my take on those books.
c. Adam Harrison mentions that the case in London is complex and would be solved another time, hence he has come to Stoneyville to aid Darcy Tremayne. I wonder if Heather Graham would make this little tidbit into a plot for a future book in this series or the Krewe of Hunters series.
d. Randy Newton, an FBI agent and friend of Matt's, is introduced in the plot as a contact and friend of Matt from a serial killer case that they had worked together on the outskirts of D.C. I wonder if he was a main character in a previous book that of Heather Graham's that I hadnt read yet.
2. Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:
a. On Pg. 71, Line 21, it should be "…of course, being the…"
b. On Pg. 103, Line 8, it should be "…..for any visions…"
c. On Pg. 114, Line 28, it should be "…quit one day…"
d. On Pg. 144, Line 12, it should be Clint but mis-printed as Cliff.
e. On Pg. 198, Line 32, it should be, "Have you attempted…"
f. On Pg. 227, Line 2, it should be, "…see if I can…"
g. On Pg. 294, Heather mentions that Matt takes a very wet and slicked with mud Darcy from the grave that she had fallen into to his car to take her directly to the house for a change. But again on 299, she mentions that Matt and Darcy, after cleanly scrubbed and changed walk to the car and she slides back into the passenger seat - the very seat where she had sat in an hour or so ago full wet and muddy. How on earth did Matt manage to clean the car and dry it so that Darcy could sit again back. That's that best magic I have seen in a long time.
h. On Pg. 299, Line 2 from the bottom, it should be "…What's wrong…"
i. On Pg. 329, Line 17, Vietnam is mis-spelled as Viet Nam.