Book Corner

Book Review: Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators… and a murder no one else can crack.

Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.

A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.

But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house — once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.

In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives… and their immortal souls.



So, I finished this book at about 11:30 last night. (Hence the reason I was a zombie at work today), so that should tell you something. I was interested enough to continue reading well past the time I knew I should be reading.

I haven’t read anything from Ms. Graham, though I’ve seen her name everywhere and have been meaning to. So when I saw her name on Kindle Unlimited, I thought “why not?”

I’m not typically into “horror” books or like any stories dealing with the supernatural – it just spooks me. Not the content itself but because I believe in demon spirits and the possibility of these spirits manifesting  and making its presence known in my life.

No thank you.

But my curiosity got the better of me and I read it.

The writing itself is not bad. It flowed easily and I wasn’t jerked out of the story by awkward phrasing or stilted conversation on the characters’ part. Though I was personally not bothered by the sheer number of “main characters,” the author did a good job keeping them straight, I can see that being confusing for a lot of readers.

There are a lot of characters and there is a lot going on at a given time.

But again, Ms. Graham does a good job keeping Jackson in our sights and the character himself divvies out responsibilities/tasks to the characters so the reader knows who is doing what, where.

The book opens with the prologue, which in essence, is the crime. The rest of the book works on solving “who dun it.”

A group of misfit characters are assigned to the job by one FBI agent who appears at the beginning of the book but then just becomes a character in the background. All of these characters who form the team have some “special” talent. Though it’s not entirely clear yet who can do what, Ms. Graham does a good job of giving us hints so we have a general idea of what roles these characters play in this task force.

The crime itself is … interesting. It’s an interesting premise, I will give her that. And the way the characters go about investigating is organized and makes sense.

However, the premise behind the story, of ghosts that can be seen, and sometimes even physically felt, just felt contrived to me.

Again, I tend to roll my eyes at paranormal stories. On one hand, they are creepy as shit, and on the other hand, they are almost ridiculous, which I would think would be a writer’s challenge for this type of genre, the sheer challenge of “selling” this premise to the reader without making it look over-the-top or just plain silly.

Most of the characters in the group can see dead people.

It’s hard to write that sentence without smirking. I feel like there was an idea for this story and then the author just decided to throw in some supernatural element to make it more interesting. It was definitely more interesting but for me, it just didn’t work.

Not to mention, Jackson and his love interest, Angela. The amount of time that these two started a physical relationship really turned me off. They knew each for what, TWO DAYS before it started getting steamy. And the fact that the rest of the team, again, all strangers and all just meeting, were perfectly fine with it did not appeal to me.

String me along!

I think, for me, if Ms. Graham is going to make this team a series, and it looks like she does, then let’s slow things down a bit. Let’s see the relationship grow, let’s see the characters tease each other and get to know each other before doing the nasty.

That completely turned me off.

In addition, the brainwashing church cult aspect of this story stuck out like a sore thumb, too.

I felt like the author took some story ideas, threw them against the wall and kept the ones that stuck. It felt hodge-podged and disjointed. Not to mention the “bad guy’s” reason for bringing the team in in the first place was sort of a weird, thin reason, in my opinion.

Overall, I’m still on the fence if I want to read any more in this series. Granted, the paranormal story lines are not my thing but I don’t think I’m ready to completely write this series off yet. I downloaded books two and three from Kindle Unlimited – let’s see if I like them enough to continue reading the series.