Monday, June 21, 2010

From the Shelves: Haunting Jordan

" Jordan Marsh left L.A. for the quaint Pacific Northwest town of Port Chatham in pursuit of some much-needed R & R. As the prime suspect in her cheating husband’s murder, she had been hoping to immerse herself in the restoration of the charming Victorian she’d just bought—and put all talk of homicide investigations behind her. But as she soon discovers, the coldest of cases cry out to be solved, too. For this old house comes fully furnished—with two garrulous ghosts who have a century-old murder of their own they’d like her to look into. Now, if Jordan can keep the L.A. police at bay, and sort through a suspect list of shady characters circa 1890, she might just clear a wrongly accused man’s name—and her own."

I thoroughly enjoyed Haunting Jordan by P. J. Alderman. It was exactly what it presented itself to be, and I came to care about the characters quite readily. I really enjoy a well-crafted mystery and I admire an author who can keep two different mystery narratives running in the same book. Did it bother me that I could figure out who the murders were slightly in advance of the heroine? Not particularly for the following reasons 1)for the historical murder it was fun watching how she figured it out and where she found her evidence and 2)for the present day murder, while I guessed who did it, I didn't know WHY. Plus, the climactic fight scene was something to be enjoyed.

I found the plot point of Jordan being able to communicate with and see ghosts to be handled fairly deftly. She was not at all happy to discover that she could do this and it takes her quite a while to adjust. She is not someone who had demonstrated psychic powers in the past, nor was she someone who makes her living dealing with anything supernatural or new age, which I found refreshing. This, combined with the fact that all of her neighbors readily accepted the fact that their town was heavily haunted and were excited that there was someone who could actually speak to the ghosts in their midst made for some very amusing passages.

I do have a few quibbles though. I thought that the loyalty and almost unnaturally good nature of her new friends was a bit much and a bit too soon. I realize that there was a bit of a time crunch in order to keep the narrative running in a realistic time, but to have developed such fast friendships like these seemed unrealistic. Additionally, there were a few loose threads that did not get tied up in this book. At the time I was unaware that this was the first in a new series so I was irritated, but now that I am aware of this fact I am less so. Finally, there were two different times when a major error took place, (the repetition of a phrase in the same sentence and calling a major character by the wrong last name) which made me wonder a bit about the editor. These are pretty minor quibbles though. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, whenever that may come about. The only information I can find on the author's website is that the second book (no title) will be published sometime this year. Highly recommended.

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