Sunday, October 25, 2015

ARC Review: Spirit (Gothika 4)

Gothika: Volume Four

Seeing dead people. Haunting and being haunted. Ghosts and those trying to deal with them add a supernatural flair to these four tales of romance.

In Among the Dead, Neil Gaven sees dead people. A gentle ghost guides him to Trist, who needs his help. But Trist is tormented by spirits, so maybe together they can find a way to live among the dead.

Dei Ex Machina is the story of Sabbio, a Roman slave who was killed 1700 years ago. He’s been alone until he meets landscaper Mason. But because they're separated by centuries, it will take a miracle to make love work.

The Mill brings a supernatural challenge to Frank Carter and his team of paranormal investigators. The owner’s personal psychic, Toby Reese, is supposed to help. Frank doesn't have much respect for psychics, but when the dangers of the old mill threaten his team, he realizes he and Toby will have to work together to survive.

Unfinished Business, Mike Ellsworth finds himself suddenly deceased. Now he’s a ghost with lots left undone in Unfinished Business. He's never been able to be honest with his wife. He's never been able to tell the man he loves how he feels. He's barely been able to admit he's gay. If only there were a way he could make up for all he’s failed to do.

Dani's rating:

Spirits, people. They're REAL.

Sometimes they seek revenge or inhabit your dreams. They wear bowler hats and drag you back from the dead. Or to the light.

This is a hauntingly good collection of novellas. I enjoyed all the stories, although the stadouts were Dei ex Machina by Kim Fielding and The Mill by Jamie Fessenden.

Individual story reviews below:

The Mill
Jamie Fessenden

This is an interesting mystery and a low-key romance. The author did well balancing the two.

Something is haunting an old mill where a fire killed many young women more than a hundred years before. Frank (a private "ghost hunter") has been hired to investigate and reluctantly accepts help from Toby, who can communicate with the dead.

This is a fast-paced story with strong secondary characters, a bit of steam, and a great HEA. I loved the no-angst relationship between Frank and Toby and the side plot revolving around Frank's younger brother.

Dei ex Machina
Kim Fielding

Fielding always seeps her stories in a time and a place. This contemporary tale is set in Croatia and involves a lonely man grieving the death of his husband and a ghost who's waited for centuries to be noticed ... and loved.

Dei ex Machina asks you to believe in the impossible: that we can find our soulmate in a dream and that the old gods still wonder the earth.

This is a beautiful tale with a HEA that will melt your heart.

Among the Dead
Eli Easton

Eli Easton's Gothika stories have always been standouts, but I couldn't fully get behind the weird twist in this one, probably because it relied heavily on the Christian concept of angels and heaven.

Neil sees dead people. He has done so since he was in an accident that left him with a severe concussion. The Man in the Bowler Hat starts following Neil. He has a story to tell, if only Neil will stop and hear.

The mood here is creepy but subdued. Neil doesn't meet his romantic interest until the halfway point, and there is no steam (but plenty of sweetness). This story made me sad, even though the ending is meant to be redemptive. Is there a HEA? That depends on YOU.

Unfinished Business
B.G. Thomas

Mike doesn't appreciate Joel until he dies (Mike, not Joel). Mike, who's deeply closeted, is married to a woman but has been having an affair with Joel for a year. We eventually find out the wife is no stranger to affairs herself. I hate cheating in stories, but I tried not to let it influence my rating.

Mike wants to make peace with his wife and Joel before he moves on, so it's helpful that a police officer he begins, er, haunting can talk to the dead (this is all very Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost).

There is no steam, but Joel's grief and Mike's sorrow are realistically portrayed, and the ending is a nice HEA.

The Gothika anthologies are my favorite. They're always properly creepy and sensual, and the covers are fucking gorgeous. Such a perfect read for Halloween!

Get the book:


The lawn
Is pressed by unseen feet, and ghosts return
Gently at twilight, gently go at dawn,
The sad intangible who grieve and yearn.
~T.S. Eliot

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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