I've thought a lot lately about putting some sort of rating or grade on the books I discuss here on the blog, especially since I've asked participants in the Reading Challenge to do exactly that (for details on the challenge scroll down to the previous post or click here). The problems I encounter, however, when I mull this over, always stop me. First of all, a teacher I am not, so I don't feel I would do a very good job at grading. If I were to go with a rating, what would it be? Stars? How many? 1-5? Or, should I go with thumbs up or down? I just can't decide. Would you like to see grades or ratings? Would it make it easier? I'll think more on it, but give me your thoughts! And now without further ado...
House of Whispers by Margaret Lucke
Book One Of The Supernatural Properties
Claire Scanlan is launching a new life and a new career in real estate. She has a chance to sell a spectacular house - but as the site of a mass murder, the property is not attracting buyers. When Ben Grant, the handsome brother of one of the murder victims, shows her the empty house, Claire experiences strange sensations that are both fascinating and repellent. She's also fascinated, and not at all repelled, by Ben Grant. But if Claire accepts her new-found paranormal power as real, she must also accept the responsibility for solving a bloody crime - even though Ben seems to be a prime suspect...
This is one of those books that I would find myself having trouble grading. For instance, I thoroughly enjoyed my reading of the tale, but in the end, there were also several things that did not sit well with me.
As the BCC states, Claire is starting her life anew. After being dumped by her husband for a younger woman, Claire packs up and moves to California to move in with her best friend while she finishes up her real estate classes and starts her new career.
On her first day of work as a Realtor, Claire is late. She'd had another one of her nightmares that have plagued her since childhood. She can never remember them and they wake her screaming. Usually, Claire gets these in times of great stress. Since Claire was late to the meeting, a house that should have been her first as the main agent almost gets given to the other new girl in the office, Avery. But when Claire shows up, the boss decides to give it to her. That is until Avery objects.
You see, the house is none other than the personal home of the famed architect, Stefan LeGrande. And while the house should be an easy sale with a huge commission, Stefan, his wife, and three of his children died there. Not just died, but his oldest son killed them and then himself. Since two other real estate companies had had the house previously, this one could be a toughie, and Avery wants it so very badly to prove how great she is. So, as a way to appease both Claire and Avery, their boss sends them both to the house to meet with the seller and let him choose which one he wants as the agent.
Both Claire and Avery feel an attraction for Ben. But only Claire has an unusual experience in the home and it is the clincher that has Ben choosing her to be his agent. It doesn't hurt that Ben is also attracted to Claire. But Avery isn't so willing to give up her shot at greatness and Claire soon finds out that the house has many secrets, secrets that it wants to share with her.
In order to bag the sale and rest easy about Ben and her growing attraction for him, Claire must deal with her intense nightmares that she's actually starting to remember, and the fact that they obviously are not just dreams but visions of what has happened or will happen, and solve the mystery of the LeGrande murders, before time runs out - for all involved.
The mystery of this book was wonderful. I actually thought I had it all figured out and found myself feeling almost disappointed that the author had made it so easy. But then a twist would be thrown in and I was doubting myself until all was revealed and I was stunned. Lucke managed to not only keep my on the edge of my seat, but she surprised the heck out of me with her ending. I LOVE to be surprised, and Lucke clearly knows her mystery. I love a good page turner, especially one with the paranormal involved, and Lucke most definitely delivered that and more with the bit of Romance thrown in.
There were problems with the book though. I won't lie. Written in Third Person Limited there are three POV's (point of views) and none of them are Ben's. Since he is a major character in the book, it would have been better, in this readers opinion, if he would have had turn. There was Claire of course. Avery, whose every scene made her seem childish and petty, in fact, Avery was the typical antagonist.
Then there was the ghost of the house. The ghost actually is the first POV we get, and it reads as a Prologue far better than it reads as a Chapter One, and well, you know how I feel about those. And while I did glean some information from those scenes, I think the book would have been fine without it.
There were copy editing mistakes a plenty in this as well, and after a while that got tiresome. However, on the whole, the book worked for me and I'm very excited about the next installment. Lucke created a believable character in Claire, one that was greatly flawed, but I found myself routing for anyway. I can't wait to see where the series will go, and have no doubt that Lucke will continue to keep me guessing in what promises to be a very intense, exciting and pleasurable series.