Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: The Uninvited by Heather Graham

Title: The Uninvited (Krewe of Hunters #8)
Author: Heather Graham
Publisher: Mira/Harlequin
Release Date: 08/28/2012
ISBN: 0778313700

I believe that this might be the last book in the Krewe of Hunters series, and I have to say that I'm a little glad at that. The idea behind the ongoing series is good, but there's only so many times you can create new Krewes just to start a new love interest before it just seems a little "same old, same old".

1777: In the throes of the Revolutionary War, Landon Mansion is commandeered by British Lord "Butcher" Bedford. He stabs Lucy Tarleton—who spurned his king and his love—leaving her to die in her father's arms.

NOW: After the day's final tour, docent Allison Leigh makes her rounds while locking up…and finds a colleague slumped over Bedford's desk, impaled on his own replica bayonet. 

Resident ghosts may be the stock-in-trade of stately Philadelphia homes, but Allison—a noted historian—is indignant at the prospect of "ghost hunters" investigating this apparent murder. 

Agent Tyler Montague knows his hauntings and his history. But while Allison is skeptical of the newcomer, a second mysterious murder occurs. Has "Butcher" Bedford resurfaced? Or is there another malevolent force at work in Landon Mansion? Wary, yet deeply attracted, Allison has to trust in Tyler and work with him to discover just what uninvited guest—dead or alive—has taken over the house. 

Or their lives could become history!

Now I have to say that one of the things I enjoyed about this entry was that Allison and Tyler don't actually jump into bed together immediately. Graham has the pair experience sparks, but for the most part they focus on the whole "someone is killing people and Allison is in danger" stuff first. We see Allison feeling guilty about her attraction to Tyler, thinking that it's inappropriate to lust after him when people are dying all around her, people she cared about. This is a very natural reaction and one that I'm glad Graham explored here. After all, if a few of your coworkers died you probably wouldn't be solely focusing on the sparks between you and Agent Awesome-Sauce.

I also rather liked the way the book played out for the most part. The mystery was nice and the history seemed to be pretty well researched, something that I noticed in the last few books in the series as well. This is one of Graham's strong suits in this series.

Where the book falters is that there are some scenes where it just seems a little bland and I really couldn't help but wish that we'd more get to the point. I also felt that the ending was a little overly rushed, making the rationale of the killer and the reveal underwhelming. I wasn't expecting a reveal that would make me gasp, just one that felt a more built up. It just feels like Graham sort of ran out of pages and figured "OK buttercup, time to wrap this mother up". This felt a little disappointing because the book up to that point was good. I almost think that the book would've been better served by not having a big showdown scene and having the baddie arrested without the inevitable "hey, I'm kidnapping the girl so I can kill her" scene.

Overall though, this wasn't terrible. It was good to see Adam poke his head into the book. I liked the history mixed into the book and I liked that the romance took a back burner to the story. I just feel that this series has run its course and that while I wouldn't mind seeing a story centered around a pre-existing couple (much like how Nora Roberts's In Death series does this), it's time for Roberts to move on. She's gotten a fresh wind with the last few books, but I can't help but feel that she'd rather be writing something else.

3 out of 5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

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