Review: The Spirit is Willing by Max McCoy

January 17, 2016 Reviews 0 Comments

Review: The Spirit is Willing by Max McCoyThe Spirit is Willing by Max McCoy
Series: Ophelia Wild Paranormal Mysteries #2
Genres: Paranormal Mystery
Published by Kensington on 1 July 2014
Pages: 288
Reading Challenges: 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
One StarOne Star


When Ophelia is hired by a woman to discover why the ghost of a hanged man manifests in her house with a strange book at his feet, she has no idea just how dangerous the case will be. The body count quickly rises as Ophelia tries to uncover the truth. She is dragged into a court case where a man is accused of faking spirit photographs and discovers that one of the photos is actually real. It takes her but a moment to realise that her case and the ghost in the photo are connected but she needs to know who was responsible and why if she is to give the ghost some peace.

The good bits

Ophelia is at her best when she is challenged (usually by men) and comes up with quite tart responses. I much preferred her in this mode rather than her frequent moments of self doubt which dragged. For someone who used to make her living scamming gullible people, I didn’t quite buy her reticence in charging clients for her services and then fretting over the lack of money. Ophelia has proven that she is resourceful and will do whatever is necessary to survive so I expected her to come up with some way of making her new career pay or at least drink some cement and harden up.

The not so good bits

I got the sense that McCoy had done so much research to get the flavour of the era right that he was desperate to cram everything in. At time he goes overboard and the info dumping detracts from the overall effect. For example, Ophelia meets so many different people that for some reason are eager to share their back story within seconds of meeting her. We don’t get to know them in any great depth beyond this which is a shame because several of them were interesting. The same applies to the numerous locations as Ophelia bounces around from place to place. Less really is more at times when it comes to characters and setting.

I would have enjoyed this book more if McCoy had stuck with Ophelia solving the mystery of the ghost in the photograph. The disparate threads take so long to be woven together that things are often quite confusing, especially as Ophelia doesn’t even get to look at the photos and see the ghost until half way through the book. The dream sequences in particular sit alone and don’t really help Ophelia with this case or indeed in surviving this novel. I can understand why McCoy wanted them as they do hint at a bigger story arc but I wish they had been integrated more effectively as they slowed the pace down substantially.

I missed Ophelia’s interactions with Jack. I had hoped that the partnership forged in the first book would continue to develop as they made a good team but he barely appears.


An interesting premise that was unevenly executed. I preferred the first novel in the series which seemed more polished.


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