Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Release Day Review: The Charlatan's Conquest by Vivien Dean

Title: The Charlatan's Conquest
Series: Phantom Fixers
Author: Vivien Dean
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Ghosts/Spirits, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 216

With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.
Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.
Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.

3.5 Stars

When his best friend Etienne proposes Cruz take his place on a job, Cruz has trouble saying no. As a Ghost Hunter Etienne has the ability to identify ghosts and evict them from people's homes. Cruz works with software, not the Paranormal. But with the offer of a fairly easy paycheck and enough training to get the job done, Cruz agrees to travel to New York and do what he can to prove to millionaire Loren Weber that his home doesn't have ghosts. It should be fairly simple since Etienne has already swept the house twice and has come up with nothing. All Cruz has to do is spend two weeks in the house, do another sweep, assure Mr. Weber he's ghost free and then collect the money he can use to help fund his little sister's medical treatments.

What should have been simple becomes a whole lot more complicated when Weber's son Brody comes storming in to put a stop to what he perceives is a con.

Suddenly it becomes obvious that in fact there are ghosts in the house but it seems it all centers around Brody and they aren't all friendly. Now Cruz knows he has to help Brody even if he's in over his head.

Interesting story that I found was quick and easy to read. I immediately liked Cruz and his somewhat calm demeanor. I thought he did a great job countering the prickly nature Brody seemed to have throughout the first part of the story.

Brody was a little hard to like at first, I couldn't quite decide if he was a natural jerk or if it was a knee jerk reaction to what was going on with the ghosts, his father, and Cruz. As I began to soften towards him, I still had this anxious feeling that there was something about him I just didn't like. Unfortunately, that feeling never completely went away and while I didn't hate Brody, I wasn't his biggest fan either.

The writing was well done and the story was well thought out. I found parts that were humorous as well as parts that were a tad creepy. There were moments of sweetness and a few times I found the story sad. All in all, it was an entertaining ghost story.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

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