Rating: 4.5 stars
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After nearly dying as a child, Denton Mills now has a special talent. If he walks by the spot of someone’s death, he can sense how they died. He also can sometimes see ghosts and spirits. His talent isn’t really good for much though, except for forcing him to take the long way around particularly recent death locations and the occasional job helping out the head of the Chicago vampires. That is until he meets his new neighbor, Bran Maurell.
Denton has been warned Bran seems like a serial killer and has about zero social skills, but when he spots Bran on the balcony, Denton can’t helped but be drawn to the handsome man. And when Bran’s cat makes his way into Denton’s apartment, that is the perfect excuse to go over and talk to him. At first Bran can barely utter two words to Denton. That is until he figures out Denton’s talent and shares that he is in fact both an herbalist and a witch. He believes Denton can not just sense how someone has died, but that he is actually an untrained necromancer who has the potential to control and banish spirits.
Denton and Bran end up being the perfect professional match and Denton begins accompanying Bran on his various ghost hunting assignments. Slowly Bran begins to warm up to Denton, but he still has a hard time relaxing or really letting Denton in. As it turns out, Bran is harboring a big secret that has made him very cautious about letting others get to know him. But if Denton can break through Bran’s shell, they may be perfect partners both at work and in life.
Those of you who read Harper’s fabulous Spirit Sanguine may remember Denton from his few appearances in that book helping Gabe with one of his investigations. He was a fascinating side character and I was thrilled to hear that Harper planned to give him his own book (and it looks like maybe a series?). And I am happy to report he is just as quirky and delightful here as he was in that story.
Denton is sort of this laid back, go with the flow kind of guy. Anyone who can sense dead people isn’t fazed by other strange things like witchcraft and possessions and otherworldly creatures. So Denton faces each new situation with an amusing casualness. He makes such a wonderful contrast to the uptight, straight laced Bran. Poor Bran barely knows how to smile, let alone how to relax. During the early parts of the story he is actually a bit unlikable, so stoic and anti social. But as soon as we learn more about his secret, it is clear just why he behaves the way he does. And the best part is that Denton’s unconditional acceptance goes a long way to making Bran more relaxed and comfortable. They are a great match and I enjoyed seeing them together.
Like several of Harper’s other books, this one is done in three vignettes that tie together into a larger story. Each one focuses on a different case of a ghostly problem that Denton and Bran must resolve. At the same time, Bran is helping Denton hone his talent and teaching him more about the world of spirits and magic. I found the stories a lot of fun and Harper does a great job creating the world of spells and magic and all the little details that pull the story together.
So I really liked this one and would love to see more of Denton and Bran. If you haven’t read Spirit Sanguine, you will have no trouble jumping into this story. Denton is only a side character there and the plots of the books don’t overlap at all. But I loved that book and would totally recommend it to anyone. So another great story from Lou Harper who is fast becoming a go to author for books about quirky couples with a bit of a paranormal twist. Lots of fun and definitely recommended.
P.S. For another great story along these lines, check out Harper’s Dead in L.A. along with Spirit Sanguine.