Darkest Journey by Heather Graham

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Darkest Journey by Heather Graham

They say it’s about the journey, not the destination… 

Charlene “Charlie” Moreau is back in St. Francisville, Louisiana, to work on a movie. One night, she stumbles across the body of a Civil War reenactor, the second murdered in two days. Charlie is shocked to learn that her father—a guide on the Journey, a historic paddle wheeler that’s sponsoring the reenactment—is a suspect. 

Meanwhile, Ethan Delaney, new to the FBI’s Krewe of Hunters, is brought in on the case. He and Charlie have a history of their own, dating back to when he rescued her from a graveyard—led there by a Confederate ghost! 

Charlie arranges a Mississippi River cruise so she and Ethan can get close to the reenactors, find out who knows what, who has a motive. They discover a lot more as they resume the relationship that ended ten years ago…but might die, along with them, on the Journey.

Please insert extreme words of happiness since I am a Krewe of Hunters fanatic and this is a new book in the Krewe of Hunters series. EEEEK! (I couldn’t help it, sorry).

I know I say this a lot about Heather Graham, but I feel the need to repeat it so you know that she has remained consistent with her talent: she does some of the best paranormal I have ever read. I always feel she presents it in a respectful way and while there is suspense and mystery, I never feel scared or like I am crossing into uncomfortable territory (especially in regards to my religious beliefs).

I really liked how Heather set this book up. We start in the past and meet Charlene when she is pledging a group in high school called The Cherubs and as an “initiation”, they tie her to a tombstone, even though there is a serial killer on the loose. Enter in Ethan, who finds Charlie and helps her, and essentially saves her life in the process.

Then we flash forward to present time. Charlie has moved onto acting and has done small parts here and there, and is presently filming a movie in her hometown. But then two men are murdered and Charlie finds one of the bodies. She makes a call to her friends, Alexi and Clara (who we met in previous Krewe of Hunters books), and they get the ball rolling. Then Ethan Delaney comes back to Louisiana. Now, years later, he’s a federal agent with the Krewe of Hunters.

One aspect of this book I really enjoyed is that Ethan and Charlie have a history together. They never dated but they were definitely interested in each other. Both can see ghosts and are aware that each other has that gift. Their families know about this as well, even if they don’t entirely share the same gift. I liked this part because I felt it allowed for a more open dialogue between Charlie and Ethan from the start. In past books, there is usually someone who can see things but doesn’t say anything because they don’t want to be seen as crazy or aren’t sure if they, themselves, are losing their mind. So I felt that taking a different route with Charlie and Ethan was a small, but beneficial, move on Heather Graham’s part.

I’ve read so many mystery books but I can tell you that Heather Graham ALWAYS keeps me on my toes. She is one of the few authors who I can never figure out who the culprit is. I’ve read over 15 books of hers and not once have I figured out who did it before the end of the book.

To me, that says a lot about how well the book is written. If you’ve read any mystery book, not just Heather Graham, you always end up meeting a host of characters. I mean, the characters are investigating a mystery and they end up talking to a lot of new characters. Somehow, with Heather Graham though, she does it in a way that I don’t feel overwhelmed or overtaken by so many people coming and going (between real people and spirits).

I also love that we get to spend time with other Krewe members from other books. This one, in particular, we get Jude, Jackson, Clara, Alexi, Thor, and Angela (I sincerely hope I didn’t forget anyone). The other nice part about this is that, for example, if this was your first Krewe of Hunters book, or you haven’t read every book in the series, you can still read this book and enjoy it. Heather keeps everything flowing smoothly.

I really loved this book. This probably rivals as one of my favorite Krewe of Hunters books, in all honesty. In these last three Krewe of Hunters books, everything was tied together (loosely) through a cruise ship line. As a longtime reader of Heather Graham, I appreciate that she can come up with new approaches to her stories but yet still remain authentic to what her readers know and love about her.

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When We Touch by Heather Graham

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When We Touch by Heather Graham

Queen Victoria’s London is a teeming metropolis of pageantry, forbidden desire, and danger—especially in the East End, a hotbed of vice, witchcraft, and murder. What widow Lady Maggie Graham does there more than greases the rumor mill. When she agrees to wed the Viscount Langdon, there are those who would act upon their suspicions . . . 
 
Experience has taught Lord Jamie well. He has seen his fair share of women behave inappropriately—enjoying risqué amusements in secret theatres, running about disguised in the seediest parts of the city—and then they call you vile names for coming to their rescue. And no woman is more shameless, more cunning, more intoxicating than Lady Maggie . . .

If you’ve read my blog before, or know me in real life, you know that I basically think Heather Graham is an author Goddess/Queen/Unicorn who is basically every complimentary word in the world. With that said…I’ve never read any of her historical romance books before. I started with the Krewe of Hunters (and am still puzzled on why I haven’t yet been asked to join, but that’s a conversation for another day). So when I was approved to read this through NetGalley, I was super excited.

My first thoughts? Like, my initial reaction within the first two chapters? I was totally missing out by not reading these. I normally don’t for for historical because sometimes, I find them hard to follow. Especially with certain dialects and different verbiage, I have found myself spending more time trying to figure out what is happening versus really enjoying the book.

That was NOT the case with this book. Heather Graham tied in some more common language in with the more proper English of 1800’s London, which made it easy to follow and understand the meaning.

The story starts with Maggie and her brother, Justin, receiving a visit from their uncle Angus. Justin had been encouraged to go out with the upper class and has gambled away any of the family fortunes that is left to care for Maggie and Justin. Maggie is already somewhat of an outcast in society because she married a policeman, who was considered a commoner. Since he was killed in the line of duty, Maggie is now widowed. The only option for Justin or Maggie is that one of them marries into another family with money. Maggie agrees to marry Lord Charles, who comes calling with his nephew, Sir James Langdon.

James, aka Jamie, and Maggie have instant attraction, but their initial interactions are ice cold because he knows Maggie is marrying for money. One aspect I really loved of this book was that it doesn’t hold back on the concept of arranged marriages or the secret lives of the wealthy upper class. I actually found it amusing that the only person who seemed naive or unaware is Maggie, and she was always the one working with the poor and not focusing on the upper class and royalty.

I don’t want to give away the story because Heather Graham has a complex story and she ties in several facets that really brought the story full circle. I loved that there is the complexity of adding in Jack the Ripper to the story. I’ve always loved that Heather Graham has an air of mystery in her stories, and I appreciated that even though I was reading a historical romance,  I was getting a lot of the suspense and mystery that I love from her.

As someone who has always loved crime shows, and wanted to be a criminologist at one point in time, I always appreciate the research that goes into every Heather Graham book I’ve ever read. I’m very familiar with Jack the Ripper and have seen numerous documentaries on the story, the theories, the letters written to police, crime photos, etc. The facts that Heather posts in this story are accurate but she tied them into her story so well. Those murders were, and still are, terribly gruesome, but I respected how Heather tied this in. Jack the Ripper is happening simultaneously as the story is told but I never felt like that angle was being exploited. I think, of all authors I’ve read, Heather really is able to incorporate sometimes taboo or terrible real things and yet not make them being abused or exploited in her story.

I would absolutely recommend this book. As someone who has read around 15 other books by her, I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on her historical books this whole time. This book was fantastic and I absolutely loved every minute of it.

Deadly Fate (Krewe of Hunters) by Heather Graham

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Alaska—the final frontier? 

When Clara Avery, an entertainer working on the Fate, an Alaskan cruise ship, goes to nearby Bear Island, she comes across a scene of bloody mayhem. She also comes across Thor Erikson, who will soon be a member of the FBI’s elite paranormal unit, the Krewe of Hunters. 

Thor’s been sent from the Alaska field office to investigate several grotesque killings, with the dead posed to resemble the victims of notorious murderers. The prime suspect is a serial killer Thor once put behind bars. The man escaped from a prison in the Midwest, and all the evidence says he was headed to Alaska… 

Thor and Clara share an unusual skill: the ability to communicate with the dead. Their growing love—and their contact with the ghosts of the victims—brings them together to solve the case…and prevent a deadly fate of their own!

YES!!! A new Krewe of Hunters book is here! Please wait while I finish screaming/crying/hyperventilating over my excitement. The Krewe of Hunters is easily my favorite series of all time. Except for Nancy Drew and The Babysitters Club, which I read 20 years ago. So seriously…I love me some Heather Graham.

This book had some new aspects in it, in terms of the normal Krewe layout. I actually loved that readers got to see bits of Clara in “Haunted Destiny”, which is the book released prior to this one. It was also really interesting to get to see Jackson so much in this story, since we don’t normally see him as much since the other books are revolving around new mysteries with new characters.

These small changes are one of the main things I really love about Heather Graham. I have read tons of mystery books and I can almost always figure out who did it ahead of time. In Heather Graham books, I am always surprised at finding out who is the actual criminal. I love that about her stories. They truly remain a mystery. Its not like you can guess it out partway in and then just hope you got it right. Her stories keep your immersed in whats happening.

This story followed Thor and Clara in Alaska, and the possible involvement of The Fairytale Killer. I loved how immediately we see how Thor and Jackson have come to know each other and also how their lives have progressed since the initial case.

One thing I also admired about the beginning of the story is how almost chaotic everything seems, in particular from Clara’s viewpoint. No one knows what is going on and I felt Heather conveyed that so well. I felt like I was running on Bear Island with Clara and being terrified and confused. You didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. I thought Heather really took the story to the next level adding in that element, especially in regards to the reality t.v. and everything being meant to be fabricated. It added to the chaos that Clara was experiencing.

Throughout the story, you do see Clara and Thor’s attraction to each other. I really admired that it was just out there right away. Others in their group noticed that there was a connection and it just was there. In past books, the characters have somewhat fought against it and in this case, Clara and Thor just went with it. I loved that.

Obviously, I would recommend this book. I loved the book being set in Alaska, the mystery here kept me on my toes all the way until the very end. I mean, wow. The ending was something I did not see coming in a million years.This was another mesmerizing mystery from Heather Graham and she hit it out of the ballpark.