Since her TV show, Ghastly Incidents, was cancelled, Jamis Bachman has been struggling with depression. She’s also questioning her sanity: she believes ghosts exist, but not being able to get proof makes her doubt everything she’s been working for.
A call from a couple who think there’s a poltergeist in the house they’re renting brings her to Sage Creek, Utah. Jamis has promised herself (and her psychiatrist) that’s it’s her last chance to prove she’s right. If she can’t get anything out of this, she’ll stop chasing. The trip will get her a lot more than she bargained for. A poltergeist, a twenty-five-year-old murder, a new group of friends, the love of her life…
In what I think is her debut novel, Jen Jensen weaves a fascinating story, fast-paced and gripping, with just the right amount of twists to keep me captivated without losing me. Maybe a tad too didactic at times but that’s a common flaw with first novels and it wasn’t a real problem.
What was a problem for me, however, was the writing. I’m sure it will keep improving. At the moment, it’s a little jerky and chaotic, and at times tore me out of the story. Some authors use too many exclamation points and coordinating conjunctions, this one doesn’t use enough. And I also felt the tenses used were wrong sometimes but I’m not a native English speaker so the mistake might be mine. Anyhow, some sentences or even paragraphs are beautiful and it makes me very hopeful for Jensen’s next book.
The jerkiness actually works really well for dialogues (though it wasn’t always clear who was talking). I really loved all the characters, and the dialogues fit them perfectly. Jamis is wounded and scared and sarcastic yet kind. Johnna, the woman she meets, is sweet and patient, and introduces Jamis to other sweet people, like her brother Sam and super geek Sapphire (my favourite of course). Then there’s Carmen, an older lesbian whose past Jamis will find out while chasing her ghosts. From the moment she began meeting them all, there was no way Jamis would go back to her former life in California.
From what I understand, this novel is the first in a series, which is excellent news. In the meantime, the author created a playlist about her book. You can listen to it below and if you want to know why she chose each song, she explains everything on her blog.