Ghost Seer by Robin D. Owens
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
If I hadn't read this for a book club, I don't think I would've made it past the 25% mark. I had to force myself to finish it.
Clare Cermak inherited an absurd amount of money from her aunt. Also, the ability to see ghosts, and her labrador retriever, Enzo. Enzo is a ghost dog. She meets Zach Slade, no relation to the ghost of the notorious gunman she's tasked with helping pass to the other side.
I can't think of a single plot point in this book that felt natural. The entire thing felt contrived and forced. Nobody acted like a real person. They all acted like the cardboard cutouts the plot demanded of them. Clare goes back and forth on how she feels about her "gift," but the plot forces her to accept it because otherwise she'll die. Not that we're allowed to feel it nibbling at her soul little by little; no, we get accounts of how cold she is, and people fretting about her. Supposedly her gift is very strong, but I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. If it means things were supposed to be easy for her, why does she struggle with the basics for so long?
The plot, itself, is very slow-moving. A timeline is introduced, and Clare expresses dismay she has so short a time. Then she putters around working on other things, like moving into a whole new house that she buys after she learns about the time crunch. Even the down-to-the-wire finish drags on. For heaven's sake, one minute Zach is pondering using a helicopter to get them there on time, the next he's talking her into a two-hour nap.
The relationship between Clare and Zach made me roll my eyes. They go back and forth, for no reason other than that the plot demands they're in one another's lives for a scene, or separated for dramatic purposes. Their urgency to sleep together is laughable, after her reluctance to jump into anything too quickly. All sense of desire is communicated through Zach's erections, and the guy sounds like your average teenage boy, in that regard. Another guy complimenting Clare gets him hard, in one scene that made me snort aloud. Their big blow-up, throw-down fight is ridiculous, and his reasons for coming around are arbitrary.
Worst of all, this book uses "Gypsy" as a shortcut for exotic, mystical, and sensual. What makes Clare special, you see, is that she has "Gypsy" ancestry, and the conclusion of the book has Clare "Gypsy dancing" while Zach fantasizes about her in a belly dancer costume. I had to close my eyes until my nausea passed. So much about the depiction is wrong that I won't even correct the author on the right way to refer to the people whose culture she's pissing on.
I might've understood some of this book's flaws if this were a debut author. She's not. The writing is stilted, dialogue contrived, plot thin, characters one-dimensional. The author spends a chatty few pages telling us about all the research she did, leaving me with the distinct impression it was wasted. In short, I will be staying far, far away from this author, and I recommend you do the same.
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