Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review: Ghosts & Echoes by Lyn Benedict

Ghosts & Echoes: A Shadows Enquiries Novel
by Lyn Benedict
2010 Penguin Group
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Trade Paperback; 362 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-441-01870-3
Genre: Urban Paranormal
Source: Review Copy from Penguin Group Canada

4.5 / 5 Stars

Sylvie Lightner is no ordianary PI.  She specializes in cases involving the unusual and unbelievable, in a world where magic is real, wher hell is just around the corner - and where death isn't the worst thing that can happen to you...

Sylvie is trying to take is easy.  She's just saved the world but lost her lover in the process.  And putting those she cares about in danger has never been part of her job description.  Distracting herself from her grief, Sylvie investigates what appears to be a simple robbery only to uncover a complex case of roganized murder with a magical edge.

But she has an ever more pressing mystery to solve.  Chicago cop Adam Wright has picked up a spiritual hitchhiker: the ghost of a dead man who desperately wants to live again.  Wright believes Sylvie is the only one who can rid him of the spirit - a spirit she finds strangely familiar...

My Thoughts
Ghosts & Echoes is the second book in this series, following Sins & Shadows, and I thought it was a much better novel than the first one.  The first one left me with too many unanswered questions and a lot of "What is exactly going on here?" questions, questions that didn't really come up in this very entertaining, quick-paced, action-packed sequel.  And you don't have to read the first novel in order to enjoy this one, although it doesn't hurt just for background information.

After a very difficult and grievous affair in the first novel, Sylvie returns to her job and prefers to take on cases that do not involve witches, vampires, werewolves, or anything else that is magical, but somehow ends up right in the middle of a magical muddle by helping a neighbour deal with some local thefts.   Soon she is dealing with some serious black magic and her own flesh and blood is deeply involved.    Having to deal with necromancers, black magic witches, werewolves, and rebellious teenagers is soon causing Sylvie and her partners major trouble with a lot of people, including the local police force.   To make matters worse, Sylvie has another case, a Chicago cop who is causing her a lot of problems as well, especially as she begins to suspect very early on who the spiritual hitchhiker is inside of him. 

These two plot lines seem to run parallel to each other throughout the novel, but they actually entertwine quite nicely and fit together towards the end.  I did find that some of the 'talks' and 'discussions' about spiritual bodies and ghosts had a tendency to go on a tad too long and I was wishing they would get on with the storyline, but a lot of it was fairly interesting and I have to give credit to the author for her creativity.  'The Hands of Glory' were particularly gruesome and I certainly have no wish to sleep with those under my pillow or anywhere near my body, thank you very much.  (You'll have to read the story to find out more, no spoilers!!)  I also particularly liked how Sylvie dealt with the rebellious rich teenagers in this story.  It's sad to think what people will do for kicks just because they have too much money and are bored with their lives and never have to work for anything.  I had a lot of compassion for the teenagers because they dabbled in something they knew absolutely nothing about and got swindled by some sweet-talking people.   And they paid the price for it as well.

I particularly enjoyed Sylvie's dilemna with regards to the Chicago cop and his spiritual presence.  I don't want to say who it was, but it did pose a huge moral issue for Sylvie and I liked how the author dealt with the dilemna of what she would do with her conflict of interest.  Would she cross the line and suffer the consequences or would she be selfless and do the right thing?  It made for fascinating scenes and reading and I wasn't sure until the end as to what she would do.  It certainly made for some interesting character development with regards to Sylvie and I grew to like her tremendously.  She's tough, courageous, a killer, but at the same time, she's compassionate and cares deeply about others.  She will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Ghost and Echoes is a smartly written, engaging novel that will capture you right from the beginning.  It has a lot of action, a lot of supernatural activity, a lot of suspense, psychological thrills and chills, and can be somewhat creepy at times.  If you are interested in strong female characters and mysteries with a paranormal twist, then this may be the book for you.  For me, I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.


  1. Sounds just like my kind of book!

    Great review and verdict!

  2. Sounds like a really interesting idea. I haven't heard of the series before but I'll be checking it out. Thanks for sharing and for taking part in Read My Review.

  3. Sounds like fun. Thanks for sharing! ^_^