“Sometimes the ghosts from your past…
Sometimes the ghosts from your past…are real.
Moira Flynn is arrested for attacking a door-to-door solicitor with a knife. She claims a voice told her the man was intent on assaulting her. The trouble is, she was the only one that heard that voice. Moira strikes a plea bargain and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for voluntary treatment. Dr. Richard Cassano is hesitant to treat her as schizophrenic, as she does not show the standard symptoms. As their sessions progress, Moira confesses there are two voices—and they aren’t voices in her head, but the voices of ghosts. Are they imaginary? Or are they actual spirits, attached to her for reasons of their own? As Moira’s doctor uncovers more of her past, he begins to realize that her ghosts are real. And one of them is determined to drag Moira into the afterlife with him.
Wow. That one word pretty much sums up my reaction to this book. Johal managed to suck me in from the first page and I did not want to put it down. I absolutely loved the concept–a woman sentenced to time in a psych ward for a crime committed by the ghost that haunts her, a doctor forced to rethink what he knows, people that may not be as crazy as they appear… pure genius.
The story was extremely well written. The plot was well developed; the intrigue and suspense kept me riveted. Reading the blurb, I knew that one of the ghosts had sinister intentions but I kept guessing which one truly wished her harm and wondered when one would make the move to take her out. I couldn’t force myself to put the book down (in fact, I kinda whined a little when my phone died on me and I had to wait for it to charge). Another factor I found addicting was the way the author kept hinting at the possibility of a romantic relationship. One moment I’d think there was something between Moira and Richard and then a few pages later, there was an interaction with Adam that made me wonder what could happen between them. I kept wavering about which character I wanted her end up with–the sympathetic doctor or the patient that claims to see her ghosts. Both men want to protect her and they are willing to do whatever it takes.
I fell in love with the characters. Moira isn’t crazy although the tragedies of her past could easily drive anyone to the breaking point. The ghosts that haunt her have very distinctive personalities and they have different reasons for hanging around poor Moria. Isabella is a six-year-old child and exists as a perpetual annoyance (any parent out there would understand that phase–now imagine living with that for more than a decade). Jack is possessive and territorial; constantly trying to keep Moira isolated from any male attention (yeah, the girl is lucky she hasn’t gone insane). But Moira is strong but resigned to do whatever it takes to make it through her involuntary commitment, even if it means taking medication for an illness she doesn’t have. Dr. Cassano is compassionate and dedicated to helping people, unlike his colleagues who just medicated their patients into complacency. His back story explains why he is compelled to believe that Moira isn’t crazy. I admire the way he doesn’t buckle under pressure–he does what is right for his patient instead of following the general consensus. Adam is my favorite though. Like Moira, he isn’t crazy. Unfortunately, those around him don’t believe it. He comes off a bit jaded and he harbors a lot of anger towards his brother who keeps having him committed. But he is charming and sarcastic (a sexy combination in my opinion)–a completely lovable rogue.
Even though this is a paranormal, it has a very realistic feel, particularly in the characterizations: The apathy displayed by many of the doctors and staff of the hospital. The presence of the good-hearted individuals who still believe they can make a difference. The resiliency of those stuck in crappy situations. The power of family and their ability to either lift you up or drag you down. All of these elements make the story very believable–whether you believe in ghosts or not.
I give this one a perfect 10/5 star rating AND I will be adding this author to my favorites list. This is the second book I’ve read by Johal and both books have impressed me. I’m off to check out her other books and make sure I’m kept in the loop on upcoming releases. I can’t wait to see what she come up with next.
(January 2014) Musa Publishing
(March 2015) Clarissa Johal
Readers Poll 2014*Winner of the Indie Book of the Day Award
(December 2012) Musa Publishing
(March 2015) Clarissa Johal
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
(2010) Clarissa Johal
*Second round finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012
Susurrus Literary JournalNon-Fiction:
A WAY OF LIFE
The Sacramento Bee Newspaper