Emma Roberts, a shy college girl, finally decides to step out of her shell when she meets Mike Carlson. However, her luck doesn't last, and Mike soon drowns in the river in a tragic accident. Ravaged by guilt over Mike's death, Emma turns to witchcraft. However, something goes wrong, and someone else comes back.
Well, the first thing that grabbed me about this book was
the setting. UWEC (that’s University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire for those outside the mid-west), my college stomping grounds! I could totally picture it all. I spent a lot of time crossing the
Chippewa River Bridge while heading to my fine arts classes!!! So many familiar places for me. Thus, I could easily get into the character and her emotions as she juggled school and some major boy
This book was filled with heart. Each returned “dead guy” was well developed. They gave one impression at first, but the author does a great job of flipping what you think is going to happen on its head. There were many surprises throughout the story line. I loved how they each had a fun dynamic with our main character, Emma, but also with the people around her.
**spoilers to follow**
I have one critique to give, and it would be that the “body bag” used by the “dead guys” was not well explained. And it was easily dismissed when Emma found the empty suit of skin on the floor. I thought to myself holy crap!!! That’s like a creepy X-Files moment! I felt there should have been more digestion of how this suit of skin would look especially when it was being peeled off. Emma kind of just tosses the suit aside without much afterthought. I also would have benefited from more details on the appearance of each person versus the body suit. I was always a bit unclear how the suit, the clothing, etc., worked when a new guy would show up. While I very much enjoyed how Mike seemed to grow brighter and brighter as he said goodbye to Emma and peeled off a few different body suits, I felt more could have been done to explain how this looked as it was happening. Sure, we don’t want to gross out the reader, but it was such an interesting concept – I just wanted the mechanism explored a little more! I found myself not wanting to let the guys return to the river but also wanting to meet who would appear next. I liked the solution Noser came up with regarding how these guys would inhabit “living space” while being “dead weight” yet would always appear as the same guy to everyone else except Emma.
With that being said, I loved so much about this story. I loved how the author shows how intertwined many vastly different-appearing people are. Sometimes you just need to take the time to ask instead of judge – as Emma is told to do a few times. I loved the investigations into what happened to each person before they died. But I was especially touched by how each guy getting a chance to make something right that was left wrong in the aftermath of their deaths. I found each moment of reconciliation touching, and I felt the tears welling up inside as each guy prepared to let go of his life. There was such a power behind each person’s story. And the author allows her readers to discover things for themselves. She throws a curve at you and lets you make the connection. She doesn’t need to go and say “so the reason he acted like this when that character entered was because…” I really liked that.
Along with incredible heart, there is also great humor. I found myself laughing a few times at the situations. I loved Emma’s attitude a few times as she gets annoyed by other people’s reactions around her. I loved Emma trying to explain things to her parents, and things never got easier for her either. The interactions between Emma and the mature/less mature guys she’s trying to help also provided a lot of fun.
**end of spoilers**
This story has so much to offer. It has mystery, witchcraft, paranormal romance, humor, and college-age adventures. There is no swearing or sex. There are some adult-themed elements including suicide, the consequences of drinking, pregnancy out of wedlock, and murder. But the story is very character driven. You enjoy getting to know Emma and seeing her growth as the plot moves. While the “dead guys” have their own pasts to resolve, Emma also has things she must overcome like dealing with the bullies in her life by standing up for herself and learning to trust the people around her. There is definitely a book 2 on the way, and I cannot wait to see what’s next for Emma and Officer Walker. The sneak peek was enticing!!! I enjoyed this book so very much.
Noser is a talented author who is able to bring to life great characters in surprising situations with an emotional undercurrent that draws you deeper into the story. I look forward to what’s ahead!
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse