After using his scientific methods to help banish the ghosts from Reyhome Castle, Henry Strauss thought he proved that his inventions were a legitimate way to detect and stop ghosts. However, rather than giving him acclaim for his work, the Psychical Society mocked him and found him unworthy. Henry is devastated, not just for himself, but for what it represents to his fledgling business with Vincent and Lizzie. They gave up their shop and their lives in New York for their joint venture, and now he is letting them down. Henry just can’t bring himself to tell them about his failure and risk losing Vincent.
When another case comes their way, Henry thinks it might be a chance to redeem himself and his ghost hunting devices. The group is called to a small town in Pennsylvania that is being haunted by a fiery ghost who seems to already have murdered at least one person in the town. As it turns out, Sylvester Ortensi, the best friend of Vincent and Lizzie’s mentor, has also been called in to the job, and they are all to work together to attempt to banish the ghost before she does more harm.
As they learn the legend of the town’s history, they realize that the ghost has something unresolved from her past, and she is murderous in her attempts to get back what is hers. Yet no one knows quite what she needs, and figuring out what how to solve the problem and banish her is proving difficult. At the same time, Henry is struggling under the weight of his secret and his concerns that he is letting Vincent and the others down. He worries Vincent will leave him when he realizes Henry is not worthy of his love and affection. And Vincent senses something is off with Henry, and wonders if perhaps Henry thinks Vincent is holding him back from an international career and fame. With secret fears between them, and a murderous ghost on the loose, Vincent and Henry must fight for their lives and their future together.
Dangerous Spirits follows Jordan L. Hawk’s amazing Restless Spirits, and continues the story of Vincent, Henry, their friend Lizzie, and and Henry’s young niece Jo. The story picks up fairly soon after the end of the previous book, with Lizzie and Vincent now in business with Henry and living in Baltimore. We see that the men have settled more into their relationship, with a strong emotional and sexual connection. But both of them also have a lot of insecurities about their place in their lover’s life. Both have a sense that the other could do better, and their fear leads them to cover up or lie about things that they should share. I think Hawk does a great job developing Henry and Vincent and we can really understand their insecurities and what is motivating their deceptions. I did at times feel that too much of the plot focused on their inability to talk to one another, however. I am not a fan of lack of communication as a major source of conflict and I did find that it dragged on a little longer than I might like. However, it is all based so nicely in their characters and I think Hawk does a great job helping us see what is driving them, especially Henry who has the greater deception.
Once again we get a great ghost story here and it unfolds well over the course of the book. The story started a little on the slow side for me, but as they begin to put the pieces together of what happened in the town and what the ghost wants, the story picks up speed. The plot is clever and really engaging, the story gives us a real sense of danger and excitement, and there are plenty of surprises along the way. I don’t think this story was quite as high intensity as the first book, but still a clever mystery/suspense that is creatively drawn. I particularly love the world building here, and the detail about Henry’s inventions and how they work.
I am also really enjoying the way this foursome is creating their own family and I love these characters. First off, Vincent and Henry are so fabulous together. Sexy, witty, and romantic, they are just a great pair. I love them individually and find them a great couple. I love Lizzie and Jo, and so appreciate how Hawk gives us such interesting and strong female side characters. These are both women who are are tough and can handle just about anything, and they are such a good fit with Henry and Vincent. I also love how we see that this group all defy society’s conventions and expectations: Henry for his focus on science, Vincent for his Native American heritage, Jo for being of mixed race, and Lizzie for living as a woman. They all offer unconditional support for one another and I love the little family they have made together.
So overall I found this another great installment in this series and I really love where it is going. The story is sexy, romantic, exciting, and creative. I am definitely looking forward to more from Henry, Vincent, and the rest of the gang.
Cover: This is another gorgeous cover from Hawk. I love how Henry is portrayed and the fire works perfectly with the story.