Haunted is the story of Valerie Wiggins, who is working to make a haunted house the best it can be. The proceeds go to help a woman’s shelter, and the money is greatly needed. Unfortunately, Valerie knows about abused women from a personal perspective. So she is determined to do whatever it takes to make the house more appealing and popular. She is even willing to ask special effects expert, Jason McLain, for his help. Even though he has been accused and acquitted in the murder of his wife. Many people still believe that he is guilty and want nothing to do with him. Valerie mostly thinks he is innocent, but she is not one hundred percent sure. But she is still willing to ask him for his help because the woman’s shelter is desperate for funds to remain open.
Jason wants to be left alone. He left the special effects business and wants nothing more than to hide himself away. He is not sure if he is guilty of killing his wife, and his brother, who also died in an accident. When Valerie appears on his doorstep, he is intrigued by her but wants nothing to do with her or the haunted house. Valerie refuses to take no for an answer and she eventually wears him down.
The first part of the book is more romance than mystery. It deals with the relationship between Valerie and Jason and their growing attraction to each other. Valerie is afraid to fall for him because of her past abuse and does not trust her judgement concerning men. Jason is afraid to get too close to Valerie because it seems like everyone who is close to him winds up dead. And he does not know if it is by his hand or a different reason. As they continue to work on the haunted house together, it gets harder to deny their feelings.
The second part of the book deals more with the mystery of who killed Jason’s wife and who is behind accidents that continue to plague the work on the haunted house. And it also deals with Valerie’s abusive ex showing back up in her life. I really enjoyed the mysteries and the the twists and turns. The author is very good at building suspense and keeping the reader guessing. The tension continued to grow, and at times I did not know if I wanted to keep swiping the pages or not. I needed to know what was going to happen next but I was afraid to find out what was going to happen next!
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. They had their good qualities and their flaws, just like you and me. I could believe their reactions to certain situations and this made them feel more real to me. I really enjoyed that and made the book a better read for me.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The writing style is descriptive and believable and at times I felt like I was right there with the characters. The romance was well written and the mystery was well plotted. I thought both were blended perfectly to make a heartwarming, but suspenseful read.
The author seems very knowledgeable about abuse and psychological conditions ( I do not want to name a specific condition because I do not want to spoil the book). I could tell that she had personal experience in these areas and, after reading her Afterword at the end of the book, I learned that she worked in a department that helped “at risk” students. This knowledge is very apparent in her writing. I think that is why the book seemed so believable and I really liked that.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written suspense/romance. I have not read any other books by this author but I plan on reading more of her work. I have found a new author to enjoy, which is a great thing. Treat yourself to this book, you will not be disappointed.
*OBS would like to thank the author and Buy the Book Tours for supplying a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
4 out of 5 stars. A Good Halloween mystery for those who enjoy a lighter mystery and romance. Oct 28, 2014
Haunted by Maris Soule is a 2012 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If are in the mood for a Halloween read , but want a dash of romance instead of werewolves and zombies, this book is one you might want to try.
Valerie runs a fundraiser for domestic violence victims and the annual Haunted House event brings in much needs funds each year. However, the props are old and outdated. Valerie needs some fresh ideas to make the event more successful.
Enter Jason McLain, former Hollywood special effects wizard. Jason has moved into the small community in Nevada to hide from the public eye. Jason’s wife was murdered and he became the number one suspect. Tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, Jason barely escaped prison when the jury acquitted him on grounds of insufficient evidence.
Jason is just the guy Valerie needs for a few suggestions one how to create a spectacular Haunted House on a bare minimum budget.
She is aware of his past, but decides to risk approaching him to help with the fundraiser. Jason lives up to his reputation right away, but some kind of chemistry between the two is sparked as well. Valerie begins to believe Jason is innocent, but even Jason isn’t so sure. It seems like bad luck follows him everywhere and his jealousy streak seems to trigger these episodes. But, Valerie is not going to give up on Jason. She is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to Jason’s wife. However, her snooping just might be her undoing.
I enjoyed this short and easy to read romantic suspense novel for the most part. The mystery is just a little predictable and some of Jason’s feelings were a little ridiculous, especially for a grown man. However, I do think the reminder that innocent until proven guilty is something we all need to hear from time to time. I also like the way Valerie stood her ground, both with her ex-husband and with the community when they were still unsure of Jason’s innocence. It is also important to have a person in one’s life who will stick with you through good and bad times. Jason didn’t have a lot of folks stand by him when the chips were down. There is also the message that domestic violence victims to have a place to go to for help and they can successfully take charge of their lives. Valerie’s staunch support brought out the truth in doing so shamed many people who believed the worst. So, while the book was transparent is many ways it was still a good story with a sweet love story and worth your time and money. I think those who like the lighter type of mystery with a slightly sensual romance without a lot of graphic violence and won’t give you nightmares on Halloween, you should check this one out.
5 out of 5 stars. Suspense and Romance. Nov 24, 2014
The main characters, Valerie; a woman dealing with a past, that was filled with abuse by her ex-husband and Jason; a man who had been accused of murdering his wife. They are very likeable characters, their attraction that they feel for each other, but neither of them able to trust completely. It was nice reading how they dealt with their past and their willingness to let go and move forward to a future with each other. This story had suspense and mystery, who was out to cause them trouble, a very intriguing story, it kept me guessing and riveted to the pages until the end.