Book Critique - Unhallowed Ground (Harrison Investigation # 8)

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

Unhallowed Ground is the eighth book in the Harrison Investigation Series by the paranormal author Heather Graham published in January of 2009. The plot is centered around Sarah McKinley - a restoration historian assigned to a mansion to restore - and Caleb Anderson - a private investigator assigned to a missing persons case.

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 so the book reviews continue in this series.

Caleb Anderson, a private investigator of the Harrison Investigations, comes to St. Augustine, FL in search of a missing girl and gets sucked into another missing girl's case. Sarah McKinley recently bought a home with historical significance and is getting it restored. Their paths cross when old bones are found in Sarah's home.

Somehow the restoration opened a door into the nether world for Sarah and now she is caught in the middle of a killer's twisted mind blending the past with present. And Caleb has to do everything in his power to save Sarah from the killer as well as the haunting past.

In this installment, Harrison Investigations is involved from the beginning of the plot as opposed to them coming on later on giving the company a more solid form rather than just being a discussion point. A more detailed explanation is also given about what the Harrison Investigations do exactly. 

As always we get historical tour of the different houses and places around St. Augustine in this plot, with references to a paranormal past. 

Sarah and Caleb form a good team in finding the truth and hunting a killer. However, I felt a couple of loose ends in the plot that Heather hasn’t closed it effectively as she normally does in her other plots. 

Heather does have a slew of characters supporting the plot again. 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.

Although I am surprised at the number of grammatical and sometimes character errors I see in the books as the series progresses. Clearly who ever edits for Heather Graham isnt doing a good job.

On a side note, in the copy of the book that I have, hard card inserts that gives reader an opportunity to either join a book club and win books, or buy a book and get a few free, were torn by someone who owned this book prior to me. Finally I found a book where someone used those cards for real. 

Another intriguing paranormal plot heavily doused on history filled with murder, mystery, romance and ghosts. A tale that captures one easily till the end.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Heather Graham talks about a serial killer in Chicago in the 1800s who was worse than Jack the Ripper. I believe she is talking about Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or more commonly known as H. H. Holmes.

b. Heather Graham also talks about a haunted castle in Ireland. That reminded me of the second book in this series, The Presence, which was set in a castle in Ireland that was famed to be haunted and the lead heroine Antoinette "Toni" Fraser restored it and managed the haunted tours while the lead hero Laird Bruce MacNiall was the owner of that castle.

c. The M. E. on the case is named Florence Benson and he jokes that his parents were huge fans of Ziegfeld Follies. And naturally I looked up as to what it was. They were a series of Boradway productions in New York City between 1907 and 1931, with renewals in 1934 and 1936. More about them here. However if I find these shows online somewhere I would love to watch, quite an intriguing story they have. 

d. Some of the classic and old films that Heather has her characters watch in the plot are: the 1951 American film The African Queen, the 1953 American film From Here to Eternity. And now they are added to my list of movies to watch.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Another one of Adam Harrison's team is introduced in conversations - John, in the first book Haunted. Will he become a main character in a future book is something we have to wait and see. 

b. In Haunted, 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.

c. In The Vision, Heather Graham has one of her characters, Jack, mention about a guy killing prostitutes around Eighth Street in Miami. I don’t remember any of Heather Graham's so far read plots that has this certain plot. Perhaps it is from one of the books I didn’t read or maybe it was just an off-hand instead mentioned for the sake of the plot.

d. In The Dead Room, Brent Blackhawk is shown to be out in Los Angeles on a case. Adam Harrison is scheduled to head to London from Manhattan the following day for a case. I wonder if Heather's next plot would be in Los Angeles or London. 

3. Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 25, Line 8, it should be "…couple of nights ago with a group…."

b. On Pg. 58, Line 2 from bottom, it should be "…who had been asked by…"

c. On Pg. 79, Line 6 from bottom, it should be "….It will be better once…"

d. On Pg. 89, Line 5, it should be "…wide selection of rolls and breads…"

e. On Pg. 107, Line 22, it should be, "…I could be of more help."

f. On Pg. 150, Line 14, it should be "..shook her head."

g. On Pg. 208 and 209, Heather shows Caleb Anderson and Sarah McKinley sitting on the couch. But on Pg. 210, she mentions that Sarah was standing very close to Caleb. When did they stand in between I couldn’t find. 

h. On Pg. 249, Line 10 from bottom, it should be "…Let me tell you what I know…"

i. On Pg. 262, Line 19, it should be "..of the smaller of the old…"

j. On Pg. 282, Line 18, it should be "…keeps on repeating itself."


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