Series: Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire #1
Genres: Paranormal Mystery
Published by Roc on 2014-02-04
Reading Challenges: 2014 Antique Reading Roadshow
Jensen Murphy was murdered thirty years ago and relived her death over and over until Amanda Lee shocked her out of the loop. Amanda begs Jensen to get justice for a woman named Elizabeth Dalton and scare the ex-boyfriend and suspected killer (Gavin Edgett) into confessing his crimes.
Jensen is a fairly curious creature as she blithely accepts just about everything Amanda tells her without considering the consequences in too much depth. Given her age, I expected her to be a little less naive. Her moral compass is clearly not working properly as she enjoys invading the ex’s mind under the guise of ‘investigating’ the situation. This serves as a fairly clunky plot device because much of what she discovers, she misinterprets. I would have liked her to do some actual investigating besides using this technique or Google and making simplistic assumptions such as a hack and slash video game designer being violent in real life. Jensen acquires ghost skills insanely quickly and a little more of a learning curve would have made her feel a little more realistic. Her voice was very contemporary sounding apart from a few pop culture references which was a shame as I really wanted a creature of the 80s.
Green has introduced a number of characters that I hope she develops in the next novel. Amanda’s skills and her vigilantism need fleshing out as does the weird ‘collector’ who takes the shape of Jensen’s former boyfriend. While we get a clearer idea of Amanda’s motives, the collector remains fairly ambiguous. We don’t know exactly what he is, where he is or what his interest in Jensen is.
The first part of the book moved quite slowly as Jensen discovered her powers and a bit about the Edgett family. This could have been trimmed back easily as not all of it value-added. Things get disturbing once we are taken inside Gavin’s mind and the family dynamics are fairly unpleasant. I did find the range of ghost powers interesting although I would have liked them to have a few more weaknesses to counter the substantial strengths that came from being dead.
I loved the idea of a ghost protagonist that acted as a sleuth but the execution didn’t quite work for me. I couldn’t quite relate to Jensen which made it hard to get absorbed in the story as it unfolded.