Avery Smith had a comfortable job working for the Atlanta PD. That is, until she had to return to her hometown of Bethel Springs after her parents were tragically killed in a traffic accident. The move was more to support her eccentric Grandmother than out of any duty to the parents that had disowned her for being a lesbian. It was certainly an adjustment after life in the big city, but she has come to appreciate the finer points of small-town life once again.
The unfortunate passing of her great-aunt means Cameron Reinhart must also return to the small town of Bethel Springs to settle the woman’s affairs. Having spent a good portion of her formative years growing up an outcast in the small town, she hopes the return is a short one. Well that combined with the constant pressure from her associate producer to get back to filming her hit paranormal show Casting Shadows. But an interesting encounter with her childhood crush, a couple of unfortunate accidents and some strange encounters mean she may be staying longer than she hoped.
The discovery of a body pulls Avery and Cam into a mystery that is deeper and older than either expect. They must overcome their skepticism and fear if they hope to solve the mystery and save themselves.
Avery is the kind of woman I am drawn to. She is athletic, smart and attractive. But not everything came easily to her. Her parents disowned her after she came out and were it not for her Grandmother’s support, she may never have made it through college. The two forged a very tight bond and I really enjoyed their relationship dynamics which are hilarious and touching. She is also a detective with the local Sheriff’s department, so entirely swoon worthy in my books.
Cam is very likeable as well once you get past the famous persona. She grew up fairly unpopular and wasn’t super popular in adulthood either. I could definitely relate to some her social reluctance. But a lucky break while on an awkward vacation landed her her own series. Using the stage name Barbie Blair, she has managed to make it one of the most popular shows on TV through hard work and determination.
Cam had a huge crush on Avery in school. When she returns to town, she runs into Avery and discovers that attraction is still alive and well. It is delightful watching the flame rekindle for Cam and seeing Avery reciprocate those feelings.
Avery’s Grandmother Mildred, and her friend Jane are hilarious. They are utterly incorrigible, and their relentless pursuit of their deceased friend’s peach cobbler recipe had me in stitches. But they are also a feisty force to be reckoned with and were a great addition to the story.
The Writing Style
There is a ton of humour in this book, mostly provided by the dynamic duo of Mildred and Jane (aka Bonnie and Clyde). It had me laughing out loud on a few occasions, possibly because they remind me of my aunts…. but I digress. While it is a paranormal story, the elements of comedy, romance and mystery are more prevalent while the horror aspect is fairly light. So, if you like a bit of eeriness but don’t want to have the pants scared off you, this book is perfect.
I loved the humour in this book. The characters were lovable and relatable, the romantic element was sweet and the mystery and paranormal elements were nicely twisty and kept me turning the page.
The pacing is just a little slow for me. While I love the insight into the characters and the funny antics of the older women, I felt it took just a little too long to get into the mystery and paranormal aspects of the story.
This is a well written, fast and enjoyable read. The romance is delightfully combined with a little bit of twisty mystery, a little bit of creepy paranormal and buckets of humour.
Excerpt from Chasing Shadows by Lila Bruce
“I thought you said your name was Cameron Reinhart,” Avery voiced the thought as it occurred to her, mindless of the interruption.
Both women turned to stare at Avery.
“It is,” Cam said, pausing to deposit the damp napkins beside the empty glass on the chair. “Barbie Blair is my professional name.”
Avery let the words roll around her head for a moment, trying to determine what exactly Cam meant. Given the way she’d dressed for her great-aunt’s funeral… No, that couldn’t be what she’s saying… “Your professional name?”
“Yes,” Cam nodded. “I’m on… I have… a television show.”
“A television show?” Definitely not what she’d expected, but Avery had certainly heard stranger things.
“Chasing Shadows is only the most popular TV show in America,” the polka-dotted woman said matter-of-factly and then seized Cam by the arm. “Oh my gosh…when you went to that hotel in Colorado and picked up the voice of that little girl on the EVP recorder…and then when that shadow crossed by the cellar window…Oh my goodness, I was at the edge of my seat the whole time.”
Avery stared at the blithering woman for a long moment, before turning back to Cam. “Oh, um, okay.” She shrugged one shoulder. “I don’t really watch a lot of television.”
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Bits and Bobs
ASIN number: B07Z36K41N
Publisher: Indie author / Lila Bruce Books
Lila Bruce Online
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