Pale as a Ghost
Private detective Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch. His dog is a zombie. And his dead boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. So it’s hardly any wonder that he uses his connection to the supernatural to help him solve cases. Good thing, too, because Duncan has his hands full. Janice Sanderson, the richest woman in Indianapolis, wants him to find her stripper daughter, Brenda, and another client is having some trouble with a specter haunting her family home. On top of that, Duncan has decided to add dating into the mix, though after Robbie’s death, he’s not sure he’s ready.
When Duncan meets Nick while tracking down a lead on Brenda’s boyfriend, he shelves his doubts and agrees to a date. Robbie doesn’t make it easy on him, showing up to spoil his chances, but that is the least of Duncan’s worries—because one of his clients’ husbands is missing and there’s a serial killer on the loose—one Duncan fears isn’t human.
Private detective Duncan Andrews has the home-team advantage when it comes to solving paranormal crimes: His best friend, Gina, is a centuries-old witch. His dog is a zombie. And his boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost.
Duncan certainly has his work cut out for him with this case. Someone’s been using the skull of a powerful wizard to control animals, and whoever it is, they’re not out to set up a petting zoo. For Gina, the case hits close to home—she knows just how dangerous it is, since the wizard was her father.
Just when he thinks they’re close to breaking the case, tragedy strikes, leaving Gina in a coma. Then, after years as a ghost, Robbie finally decides to move on, leaving Duncan to protect young Ashton Marsh, the victim of several strange animal attacks. Suddenly Duncan is working without his supernatural safety net. Without his friends, can Duncan defeat the power of Eleazar’s skull and keep Ashton alive? Or will the struggle for his life end in broken bodies as well as broken hearts?
The Scarlet Tide
Duncan Andrews, a private detective who specializes in paranormal cases, is back, along with his usual gang. Robbie Church, his boyfriend, is a ghost. Gina, a centuries old witch, is his best friend. And Daisy, Duncan’s bulldog, just happens to be a zombie. Odd man out seems to be Nick, a history teacher. He’s a normal, living human.
Duncan’s latest case leads him to a rock band in Indianapolis called The Scarlet Tide. It doesn’t take Duncan long to realize all of the band members are vampires. He sets out to destroy them, but runs into trouble with the charismatic leader of the band, Dominic Hunt. Duncan ends up under Hunt’s psychic control, and is forced to examine his relationships with Robbie and Nick, as well as his attraction for Hunt. Can Robbie and Gina help Duncan break Hunt’s psychic grip? Is there any hope the vampire can be destroyed once and for all?
Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch, his bulldog Daisy is a zombie, and his boyfriend Robbie is a ghost. Duncan himself is just your average private detective, who happens to specialize in paranormal cases.
Robbie’s cousin, Jason, has a problem. The house he’s living in is haunted by the ghost of serial killer Dr. Stanley Moore. Duncan thinks banishing the spirit will be an easy task, but when confronted, the ghost nearly kills Duncan.
If that’s not bad enough, a witch-hunting group called the Order of Cotton Mather have tracked Gina down and are bent on destroying her. And Robbie and Duncan’s relationship may be nearing an end, as Robbie feels he’s holding Duncan back from having a lover he can actually touch.
Duncan must rid Jason’s house of the evil Dr. Moore, save Gina, and somehow manage to hold onto Robbie in the process.
I bought this collection while it was on sale at Dreamspinner Press. I had seen it before, but wasn’t sure I’d be able to get into it. Was I wrong? Oh, hell yes.
Duncan Andrews is a private investigator. He does the usual things–cheaters, missing persons, etc–but Duncan also has a gift. He can see dead people (Haley Joel Osment, eat your heart out!) Which works out because his boyfriend, Robbie, happens to be dead. For the last ten years. And then we have Duncan’s best friend, Gina, who is a witch. Sounds like this poor guy has quite the life…dealing with the afterlife.
The ‘Duncan Andrews Thrillers’ comprises the first four books in the series (there is a fifth book, Under A Blood Red Moon, available now at Amazon and other retailers). Pale As A Ghost introduces the Scooby Gang to us. It’s kind of bittersweet, as Duncan begins to realize that having a boyfriend who is a ghost has problems. After ten years of Robbie being dead, he still looks like a kid, while Duncan is now thirty, and is beginning to age. Add to that the fact that Duncan hasn’t had sex in ten years, and it’s left him feeling pretty raw. He’s determined he’s going to get out of that rut, and this leads him to meet Nick. Now I initially disliked Nick, because I loved Duncan and Robbie together, but as I read through the book, it struck me hard how difficult it was for Duncan to see Robbie, but not be able to touch him, to hold him, to really love him. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt to see him going out with Nick.
I’m not going to go through each book for the review. Instead, I’m going to do it as a series. And what a series it is! Duncan’s life will never be called normal by anyone looking at it from the outside. In each of these books, you see aspects of what his life is like. Imagine seeing your boyfriend every day, but simple things, like a hug for instance, are denied you. And then you have clients who get killed in a variety of intense and interesting ways. Through it all, Duncan and his friends battle back against those who would hurt clients and friends alike.
Highlights of this series include:
A zombie dog with a penchant for squirrels.
A witch who might be falling in love with a dentist.
A ghost who is so in love with Duncan, he has to decide whether it means he should move on and let Duncan get on with his own life.
A human friend, who wants to be part of the group, and the lengths he’s willing to go to to get it.
A powerful warlock. A vengeful ghost. Vampires. Skulls. And death.
Plus stellar writing. Stephen Osborne makes you care for each of these characters. He folds them together into something more than a group, but he makes them a family. Each a part of it, but so much stronger together.
The fourth book, Dead End? Oh, god. The feels. What happens to Duncan, what he loses, tore me apart. I won’t say what happens, but have some tissues.
Now! For those who are wondering, this book is about being a thriller. There isn’t hardcore sex scenes. This entire series (thus far, as I haven’t read book five yet) has been story driven, without the need for fillers.
If you’re a fan of thrillers, ghosts, witches, vampires, or any of the like, this one will knock your socks off.
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