The Ghost Hunter Next Door
#1 Beechwood Harbor Ghost Mysteries
by Danielle Garrett
Narration by Amanda Ranconi
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic, Audio
Pub Date: 3.26.19| 6 hours 2 minutes
REVIEWER: Sophia Rose
MP3 Audio provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The first rule of being a ghost whisperer: Don’t tell anyone.
Sure, it might sound harmless. A fun party trick, even. I assure you, it’s not.
How do I know? Well, let’s just say that I’ve had a lot of experience with this sort of thing, and nine times out of ten, it turns into an all-consuming disaster.
Being plagued by needy ghosts twenty-four/seven is one thing; being harassed by a horde of curious—or worse, grieving—flesh-and-blood people is an entirely different circus. I mean really, who wants to hold an impromptu séance in the middle of the cereal aisle?
Not me, and the manager of the grocery store probably isn’t too crazy about the idea, either.
So, that’s it. If you’re a ghost whisperer, just keep your mouth shut and act normal. Ghosts? What ghosts?
Now, if only I would start listening to my own advice …
Several trusted book pals have been enjoying the Beechwood Harbor Magic series and I do plan to read/listen to those at some point, but I caught sight of this first book in the spinoff series and the idea of a ghost-whispering florist who helps solve ghost-related troubles caught my eye. Both series share the fabulous Amanda Ranconi as the narrator so I decided to give this one a go.
Scarlet acquired the ability to see and talk to ghosts as well as help them resolve their issues at a young age. Her parents thought she was delusional and so she’s kept quiet about it for the most part. After she was on her own, she decided to travel and drift wherever chance took her around the world. She worked as she went, but occasionally her parents had to bail her out. Nearing thirty, she thought it was time that she went home and settled into something more permanent and her inheritance from her grandmother allowed her to finally set up in business as a florist. She truly struck out on her own when she chose a small Washington State beach town rather than her home in Arizona. Now, she works to build her business and on the side help the ghosts in town. She has two ghosts who have moved with her to the spot, a debonair Englishman from the Victorian period and her cranky, wily cat who can now speak. She has also met a local friendly ghost who has her ghostly finger on all the gossip in town. Scarlet enjoys the town which harbors more than humans and ghosts. Something about it has drawn many paranormals to call it home. She has learned to adjust to them being about among the other unsuspecting humans and stayed to herself and out of all the magic business.
The story opens with Scarlet getting warned by a terribly angry ghost that she has a week to get rid of the TV show people who are renovating an old Victorian in town or the ghost will go all poltergeist on them. The ghost blew out her window on her shop door with little effort so Scarlet knows she means business about harming people to get them to go. Scarlet can’t get rid of the crew and she is reluctant to exorcise a ghost so she seeks to find out what made the ghost so angry. Along with the show’s security guard, Lucas, Scarlet stumbles on a murder mystery that everyone thought was an accident.
This was the intro to a new series and main character. Scarlet is more complex than I expected in a cozy mystery character. She is definitely affected by her parents’ distance to her and not being able to have them or anyone else know about her gift. She has low self-esteem and is bristling and suspicious of Lucas’ interest in her. She puts him off many times when her emotions make her want to form a connection. She’s afraid of relationships with anyone but her ghost friends. Lucas sticks it out, but her withdrawals do hurt him. She did have a few woe is me moments, but snapped out of them before it got too annoying. He’s had his own past of military service and parental infidelity to shape him, too. It will be interesting to see how things progress in the series. now that Scarlet has solved her first ghost-related case. I do like the coastal setting and the quirky ghosts and I look forward to seeing Scarlet grow confident and move out of her shell.
Amanda Ranconi’s narration had that easy going wry humor that seemed to characterize Scarlet. She voiced the ghosts from the past and both genders quite well. I got lost in the story easily and love her style of narration work.
All in all, this was a good first outing and I look forward to more from this series. I will definitely be going back for the original series now that I’ve met a few as side characters and have experienced the author’s writing style. I think those who enjoy paranormal cozy mysteries should pick this one up.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.