Rating: 4.25 stars
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Oscar Fox and Nigel Taylor have been together about three months. It is just after Christmas and the two are headed to Oscar’s parent’s home in West Virginia, along with the rest of their ghost hunting team. The house has a history of paranormal activity, though no one has ever really talked about it, as Oscar’s father forbids any talk of the supernatural. Oscar knows it is a sensitive subject for his dad, after Oscar’s grandmother was locked up in asylum for claiming to see ghosts. But he also wants to finally come clean to his dad about his job as a ghost hunter and hopefully find out more about some of the family history.
The quest to learn more about a possible haunting in the house leads the team to an abandoned distillery. It turns out that it was founded by Oscar’s family generations ago and the group quickly learns that it is haunted by the ghosts of three of Oscar’s ancestors. They also figure out that there is some sort of curse on Oscar’s family, one that is putting him and his father in grave danger. Now, Oscar, Nigel, and their team must do all they can to figure out who has cursed the family, what they want, and how to stop them before anyone else ends up dead.
Rattling Bone is the second book in Jordan L. Hawk’s OutFoxing the Paranormal series. Though this one follows closely on the heels of The Forgotten Dead, I actually think you could jump in here since the ghost hunt itself is pretty distinct from the first case. That said, the first book is excellent, and getting to know the characters better before starting here will definitely make this story richer. Like with the first book, Oscar and Nigel and their friends find themselves in the middle of a murder and deadly haunting. I find the tone of this series works really well for me. These stories are scary and intense, without going full on horror. I’d still prefer to read this one with the lights on, but it was just the right side of terrifying to work for me as someone who isn’t a huge horror fan.
I enjoyed the way this story ties so nicely in with Oscar’s backstory. We know from the first book that he has had to hide his talents as a medium and has been fearful about anyone knowing the truth. It is clear that both he and his father are still scarred from what happened with his grandmother years ago and it has affected both their relationship, as well as each man individually. Now that Oscar has come to terms with what he can do, he still needs to reconcile it all with his father, who is not happy at all to learn about Oscar’s ghost hunting. The deadly hauntings also tie in to Oscar’s family and so it really helps to develop Oscar nicely as a character, at the same time that we have this exciting ghost story. There is a nice sense of Oscar coming into his own here, learning more about his family, his history, and who he is, and I loved how it all ties together so well. I did at times think they were all being a little hard on Oscar’s dad, who has true emotional scars that have never healed and certainly impacted many of his decisions. But we get nice resolution on that front as well.
The ghost hunting itself is scary and spooky and so well done. Hawk gives such a great sense of place, it really brings the abandoned distillery to life and I could picture it all well as I was reading. I loved following along with the investigation as they try to figure out who is behind it all and why. Things come to a really climactic conclusion and there is a lot of excitement. That said, I did feel like the ghosts ultimately get banished pretty quickly in the end after a lot of lead up, so maybe a little pacing adjustment might have helped. But overall, I found the ghost hunt to be well done (and not as purely terrifying — at least for me — as the first book).
I am really enjoying the series and think Hawk has created something a lot of fun with this ghost hunting team. Oscar and Nigel are sweet together and clearly care for one another. I am eager to follow along with them on more paranormal adventures.