Review: Spirits in the Trees by Morgan Hannah MacDonald
Title: Spirits in the Trees
Author: Morgan Hannah Macdonald
Series: Spirit Trilogy # 1
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Source: Bewitching Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
I received this novel free of charge from BBT in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Amazon:
SOME FAMILY SECRETS ARE BETTER LEFT BURIED.
An abandoned house, a psychotic killer, and a victim reaching out from the grave. A woman must unearth deadly family secrets before she becomes a ghost herself.
Madeline Anderson goes to Isabelle Island, Washington, to sell a family home abandoned over forty years before. Bizarre things occur the moment she steps on the property. Inside the dilapidated old house, items move about of their own accord. Strange noises come from empty rooms. She has a vivid, recurring dream of a woman running for her life. The wind rustling through the trees sounds like urgent, murmuring voices. When the cacophony dies down, one single word emerges: MADELINE,MADELINE,MADELINE.
At first, Doug Lindstrom, the hot fireman helping Maddy restore the old home, doesn’t believe anything is going on. He’s certain Maddy is jumping at shadows because she heard the local kids call the house haunted. That is, until he witnesses horrific violence himself that he can’t explain away. After Maddy’s life is threatened not once, but twice, Doug vows there will not be a third time.
EVIL DOES EXIST.
While searching for answers, Maddy uncovers astonishing secrets about her aunt’s past. Finding more questions then answers, she digs deeper until she stumbles across evidence of a cold case involving a serial killer nicknamed The Seaside Strangler. Together, Doug and Maddy must unmask a killer. The lives they save just might be their own.
Random: The death are much more fascinating than the living.
This is an okay murder/paranormal mystery. It is not the greatest but it is not the worse story that I have read. My main problem lies with Maddy (the main character) and my inability to connect or sympathize with her. On the plus side, the novel has a very good use of journal entries an spectral evidence.
It starts out with a bang but it is a cold bang. It starts with a burning house and the purpose was to shock the reader and force a connection with Maddy but it doesn’t work that way. How the situation is handle is too cold and I don’t feel for her. Yeah, the situation is tragic but so what; Maddy is a stranger to me and appears to be a frustrated wife. After that, the book doesn’t try to form a connection between Maddy and the reader. It’s like it expects the reader to be connected to Maddy because of the tragic accident but I don’t feel it. She is not a very interesting character (not even her love interest is interesting); the only interesting thing about her is the haunting. Overall, I’m not crazy about her or any of the living characters.
The two things that I truly liked about this novel are the journal entries and the hauntings. The journal entries are about Madeline (Maddy’s great-aunt) who has a tragic but more compelling life than Maddy. The reader can feel her pain in being secluded in a hell house. Madeline, for me, was a stronger character than Maddy. Madeline was victimized by her in-law-family yet she persevered in the house. It may have taken her awhile to find her courage but it is the process that makes her a stronger character than Maddy.
The hauntings are a typical of haunted house. Bathtub full of blood, doors closing by themselves, opening and closing cabinets but they spice up the story. It brings the paranormal world into the living world setting instead of confining the paranormal to Maddy’s head and her dreams. It was a good move to bring in the paranormal experts as well. They do EMF readings of the house and record the house’s strange movements. The dreams of Maddy are also interesting. That’s where the mystery comes in because Maddy is reliving a crime through paranormal means. The dreams are graphic in a sense that they will make the reader believe what is happening to the victim. The panic and the fear are visible in the dream sequence.
It is odd that I can connect with the Madeline and the victims instead of Maddy who we as readers tend to read more about. Maddy and all of the living are close characters; it is hard to connect with them because their past are simply brush over and told directly instead of being shown. Whereas the victims and Madeline, their stories are shown on an emotional level.
In the end, this is good book. There is always something going on so the action never really slows down. Very intriguing journal entries about a screwed up family. Dream sequences that are filled with emotions. It is a good book but Maddy as a cold main character just lowers the butterfly rating.
57th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, Ghostly Reading, Men in Uniform, Where are you reading?-Washington