Series: Krewe of Hunters #12
Format Read: egalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 27, 2014
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Blurb from goodreads:
Hannah O'Brien, who grew up in the house and now runs it as a B and B, has always had a special ability to see a pair of resident ghosts. But when a man is murdered in the alley behind her place, she's dismayed when his spirit appears, too, asking for help.
FBI agent Dallas Samson has a passionate interest in the murder, since the victim's a colleague whose death is connected to the smuggling ring known as Los Lobos—the wolves. Now Dallas is even more committed to chasing them down….
Unaware that Dallas has certain abilities of his own, Hannah calls her cousin Kelsey O'Brien, a member of the FBI's Krewe of Hunters, an elite unit of paranormal investigators. The present-day case is linked to a historical mystery involving salvagers, a curse and a sunken ship. Danger and desire bring Hannah and Dallas together, but to survive, they have to solve the mysteries of the past—and stay alive long enough to solve the crimes of the present!
I hadn't read a Heather Graham book for a while; I read the first couple in this series several years ago and they did nothing for me. But the blurb was appealing and I heard good things about it so I grabbed this one when I had the chance. Like Kay Hooper's Bishop/Special Crime Unit series, Graham's Krewe is a special team within the FBI who have various psychic abilities though most of the Krewe's seem to have to do with seeing ghosts. They go around solving mysteries that have paranormal elements to them.
Kelsey's B & B has a good reputation and she also conducts ghost tours. But her business takes a hit when a bloody ghost shows up in her backyard and terrifies several of her customers into leaving. Then a dead body turns up near the B& B and suddenly Kelsey and her guests are in danger. Samson shows up to investigate the death and sparks fly between he and Kelsey. At first, they snarl and fight but slowly they start to work out their differences and a romance develops. Dallas (and every time I read that, I thought of JD Robb's In Death series) and Kelsey were hot together and although the romance happens rapidly, it felt authentic. They appreciate each other's strengths and although Dallas is occasionally overbearing, they respect each other. Dallas tries to keep Kelsey safe but Kelsey is no wilting flower and can take care of herself while being able to accept help.
The mystery was done well and the identity of the leader of Los Lobos kept me guessing. He was always a step ahead of the good guys. I wish I could say the killer's identity was a surprise but Graham gave it away early on although the reveal doesn't occur until late in the story. Knowing the killer's identity when the main characters didn't could have added to the suspense but instead it felt anticlimactic. It was interesting to see his thoughts though as Graham hops from his head to Dallas's to Kelsey's.
My favorite part of the story had to do with the ghosts. Graham gives us several and they are just as real and developed as the living characters. Molly and Hagen are a sweet couple and Hagen, though dead for a hundred or more years, is protective of both their reputations. We didn't see quite as much of the others but they added to the story also and one was crucial to revealing the mastermind of Los Lobos. These ghosts aren't tied to one spot but are able to travel which proves useful to unraveling the different mysteries going on. Graham also did an excellent job using Key West as a setting and showing us more than just the tourist side of things.
"The Cursed" was entertaining and thrilling and I'll be reading more in the series.