Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
After his brutal murder in 1919, Finlay Saunders was bound to haunt the halls of the military barrack where his murder took place, although it has changed over the years, to a hotel and now a public house. When the structure was a hotel, Finlay, in all his arrogance, challenged the wrong priest and was imprisoned within the walls of the hotel – unable to leave, unable to see time pass by, cursed to pass his days alone. Until the day, ninety-three years later, when an unassuming young man moves into Finlay’s room and everything changes. Feeding off of the young man’s energy, Finlay frees himself from his prison, continuing to wreak havoc with one purpose in mind. Absolute freedom.
Jamie “Fizz” Fitzherbert longs to be normal, but it’s apparently not in the cards for him. Living his life the best he can under a cloud of severe depression, Fizz was kicked out of his house, only to be taken in by his cousin, Ginger, and the other employees of The Queen Anne’s Revenge public house to live above and help out at the pub. The members of the staff, Ryan, Matt, Sammy, Pete, and Rachel, are all wary of the new addition, but eventually take to trying to help the broken boy heal.
A living space filled with angsty, emotional, and love-sick men is the perfect feeding ground for Finlay to lay out his plan. As Finlay wreaks his own form of havoc, tension, anger and frustration fill the pub and the employees with seemingly no end in sight. When Finlay finally makes his move, it may be life or death for those living in The Queen Anne’s Revenge unless they can find and stop what they can’t see.
I am a new Melanie Tushmore fan. In fact, this is only the second book of hers that I’ve read. And I must tell you, this author knows what she’s doing. The Haunted Pub is gay romance meets horror story. Now, if you ask the author, she may tell you that the story is not romance, but if you ask me it’s a different definition of romance, a romantic horror. There are definitely some lovey feelings and unrequited love happening in this book. Either way, it’s a fabulous story with a little bit of everything – unrequited love, heart-pounding mystery, and on-the-edge-of-your-seat horror. It is a ghost story…and not the friendly type.
This book is full of personality and amazing personalities. Let’s start with Fizz. His life is clouded in depression. He lives with a massive amount of guilt and fear that rule his life. His balance, Ash, is patient, positive and so sweet. I adore Ash. Sammy and Matt are wonderful characters – both full of spunk and opinion. They butt heads more than not, but the chemistry between them is steamy. I love it. And finally my favorites: Ryan and Ginger. They are the perfect balance. Ginger’s temper and overprotectiveness are complemented by Ryan’s patience and calm, accepting demeanor. I love them all, really.
I also liked the ghosts in the book – the good and the bad. They each had unique personalities that gave life to their stories. I only wish there would have been more of a backstory for Finlay and Martin. I’m unsure of their relationship before the murder. It’s not exactly clear if Martin was actually there when Finlay was killed or if he was a ghost that stood by. Was Martin Finlay’s lover? It wasn’t clear: Martin couldn’t help me even if he’d wanted to, exactly the same as the night he’d watched those soldiers strangle me to death in 1919.
And I would have liked a little more backstory of why Finlay was killed. But all around the ghost story is intense and exciting. I was riveted.
My only other quibble is with the ending. It seemed too easy. I don’t want to give too much away, so if you haven’t read the book, you may not want to read the next part because it may contain spoilers. [spoiler] First, the final two chapters feel more like an epilogue, and they dragged on a little more than I would have liked. Because they dragged on, I kept thinking something else would happen, something “ghosty” And I still have questions. How did Ryan know what the sigils were? Why was Ryan so sensitive to the spirits? Why Fizz’s personality change? [/spoiler] So, everything was not wrapped up as well as I would have preferred.
In the end, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I loved the characters. The personality contained within this story is a big selling point of The Haunted Pub. This story is intense and fun. Really, it’s a great read. And I look forward to what Tushmore has in store for readers next.