20 October 2013

Ghost Night (The Bone Island Trilogy, Book 2)

Heather Graham

Synopsis: A slasher movie turns real when two young actors are brutally murdered on a remote island film set. Their severed heads and arms are posed in macabre homage to a nineteenth-century pirate massacre.

Two years later, survivor Vanessa Loren is drawn back to South Bimini by a documentary being made about the storied region. Filmmaker Sean O'Hara aches to see how the unsolved crime haunts her...and Sean knows more than a little about ghosts.

Lured by visions of a spectral figurehead, Vanessa discovers authentic pirate treasures that only deepen the mystery. Are the murders the work of modern-day marauders, the Bermuda Triangle or a deadly paranormal echo of the island's violent history? As Vanessa and Sean grow closer, the killer prepares to resume the slaughter...unless the dead can intervene.

First line: The sound of the bloodcurdling scream was as startling as the roar of thunder on a cloudless day.

Stats for my copy: Trade paperback, published by MIRA Books, 2010; 371 pages; bought at a used book store.

My thoughts: I read the first book in this series, GHOST SHADOW, in January, and I enjoyed it so much that Heather Graham immediately made my list of authors whose back list I obsessively began to collect, and I was particularly eager to acquire the other two books in this series. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in GHOST NIGHT.

Sean O'Hara is the brother of the heroine of the first book. And while he and the female lead were likeable enough, I never really connected with either of them or cared about them as much as I did Katie and David in the first book. I was pleased to learn right from the start that Bartholomew, the ghost of a privateer who lived with Katie, had now attached himself to Sean, as Bartholomew was one of my favorite characters in the first book. Sean had never been able to see or hear Bartholomew until after the events at the end of that book. Bartholomew, however, while involved in the storyline, was not on the page nearly as often as in the first book, and was definitely a secondary character this time.

Vanessa and a small group were filming a horror movie on Haunt Island, when the two leads' severed heads were found on the beach. Now, two years later, Sean and David are about to start filming a documentary about the history and local legends of the area when Vanessa appears and begs Sean to hire her onto the crew. She wants to go back to Haunt Island and try to figure out what exactly happened. Vanessa also just happened to be a childhood friend of Katie's. Sean reluctantly lets her convince him to hire her, and to include the mysterious circumstances of the murders on Haunt Island in the documentary.

Maybe I'm not remembering the first book properly, maybe the story drew me in so much that I didn't notice the writing, but the whole tone, the writing, of this second book just seemed...more amateurish for want of a better description. The plot was more convoluted and a little harder for me to keep up with. Maybe the book just needed better editing. For example, I had to read this part twice, and it just irritated me:
Hey, what's going on?” he asked.
Zoe stared at him without speaking.
Sean,” she said softly. “You need to be quiet and not raise an alarm.” (pg 359)
She can't stare at him without speaking, and then immediately say something, or, you know, speak.

I wasn't sure how it was going to end, and then the ending didn't feel real plausible to me. And yes, I know, we're talking about pirate ghosts here, so no plausibility to begin with, but still.

The third book is about Liam, and since I did like the first book so much, and I already have the next book, I'll still read it, and still look forward to it. I mean, not every book can be a winner for everybody, right?

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