Formats available: ebook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Psychic Detectives #2
Length: 263 pages
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Date Released: October 31, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance
Psychic medium Alexandra King is sick of being pestered by her boss’s dead mother demanding help to reunite her two estranged sons. Determined to get some peace and quiet again, Alexandra follows a lead in finding the younger Collins brother to Charleston, South Carolina, where she immediately meets the hottest man she’s ever laid eyes on and finds herself a willing participant in seduction. Of course, her one-night-stand turns out to be none other than Dylan Collins — her boss’s younger brother and a homicide detective who believes psychics are a complete waste of time.
All Dylan wants is a few hours of pleasure to take his mind off of the case haunting him. A serial killer is stalking the streets of The Holy City — a killer who calls himself The Grim Reaper. When the woman he’d just spent the night with turns up and offers her services as a psychic consultant on the case, his ardor quickly cools. Last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a con artist.
It doesn’t take long for Dylan to realize Alexandra is the real deal – and the killer’s next target. Dylan’s protective instincts battle his reluctance to get too involved with a woman he isn’t sure he can trust. As they get closer to finding the killer, they also grow closer to one another, but will Alexandra’s secret agenda destroy their chance at happiness — if the killer doesn’t strike first?
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes”, or so says one of the witches in Macbeth.
Something Wicked is also the darker second book in Angela Campbell’s Psychic Detectives series, after the first book in the series, the light-hearted romp On the Scent, reviewed at Book Lovers Inc.
I picked Something Wicked as my Halloween review because it considerably darker than the first book in the series. While the story still contains a romance, there is much more of a feeling of suspense and absolutely a heart of darkness; psychic medium Alexandra King and Charleston Police Detective Dylan Collins are on the trail of a serial killer calling himself “Grim Reaper”; all the while that Grim Reaper is stalking them.
The story starts as a simple quest. At the end of On the Scent, the late, lamented Rebecca Collins pesters Alexandra King until she agrees to go to Charleston to attempt to reunite her two sons, Zachary and Dylan. Alexandra left Zachary in Atlanta, happily in love with Hannah at the end of the previous story, but unfortunately very much estranged from his younger brother Dylan.
Dylan is a cop in Charleston, and Rebecca is sure that he is in danger, and not just the everyday kind of danger a cop usually faces. In case you missed it, I called Rebecca the “late, lamented”. Rebecca is a ghost, and Alexandra does, indeed, see dead people. This is that kind of story. It is Halloween, after all.
There’s “meet cute” and then there’s “meet really cute.” Alexandra gets to Charleston, goes to a bar/restaurant recommended by her hotel, has a meal, picks up a gorgeous guy, has a night of really fantastic sex, and never gets the guy’s name.
The next morning, her visions show her that there’s a serial killer in town, and that the cop leading the case is both her one night stand and the guy she came to find. Only then does she discover that Dylan Collins hates psychics. Dylan does not want her on the case. His boss does. The police need all the help they can get, even from a psychic.
Something Wicked should have been the same kind of lighthearted romp that the first book was, but it isn’t. Not just because the serial killer is not merely a sick bastard, but he’s chasing Alexandra and Dylan while they’re chasing him. It goes further than that. Alexandra has a sympathetic relationship with ghosts, she helps them “cross over” to the other side. Something evil is messing with the ghosts of Charleston, and is making living people get sick, too. A demon gives Dylan’s partner pneumonia. Charleston has LOTS of ghosts (think Civil War) and the demon is suborning those ghosts and getting them to attack the living. It’s very creepy.
So we have a live serial killer, killing people, and a dead serial killer messing with ghosts doing even more evil. Kind of a double-creepy effect. This shouldn’t work but it very much does.
Because Alexandra talks with ghosts, she can be affected from both planes, so both the serial killer and the demon are out to get her.
It all starts because one mother wanted to make sure her sons reconciled. If Zachary and Dylan work together, maybe they can manage to save both Rebecca and Alexandra.
Escape Rating Boo+: Something Wicked is a wickedly fun read for Halloween, although it will help you enjoy the story if you read On the Scent first to get introduced to Alexandra and the other Collins brother, Zachary. The scene late in the book where Zach figures out where Alexandra is will be way more fun (and loads funnier!) if you know their history.
Dylan and Alexandra have a lot to work through. They start out not being honest with each other, at least partially because they start out not sharing much except hot sex. No introductions were made. It’s only later that Alexandra neglects to mention that she’s in Charleston because she knows Dylan’s brother.
The scene where Alexandra gives Dylan a complete dressing down for his assumptions about psychics is funny but also spot-on. He has a lot of baggage he needs to lose before they can have a real relationship. He spends most of the story dropping those bags, piece by piece.
This story had just the right amount of creepy factor for a Halloween read for me. I don’t like straight out horror, but I was looking for something with those elements to give the season that appropriately shivery sensation. Something Wicked was just right!