Review: Something Wicked by Angela Campbell

Something Wicked by Angela CampbellFormat read: ebook provided by the author
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?

My Review:

“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.

on the scent by angela campbellThe 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!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: On the Scent by Angela Campbell

On the Scent by Angela CampbellFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: July 25, 2013
Number of pages: 263 pages
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Publisher’s Website

Hannah Dawson has a big problem: she’s just become the unexpected owner of a snarky cat, a loveable but not-so-bright dog… and their $10 million fortune!

Which would be awesome if it hadn’t made her the target of every wacko in the metro Atlanta area. Now Hannah and her famous pets need protecting and there’s only one man who can help them…

Enter Zachary Collins: ex-TV star of ‘The Psychic Detective’ and street-wise private investigator – all 6 foot blue-eyed gorgeousness!

Only Zach’s got secrets of his own – not least that he finds his new client irresistibly hot. The more time he spends keeping Hannah out of harm’s way, the more he’s tempted to give in to the attraction… even if it means breaking all his own rules.

My Thoughts:

Simon Baker as Patric JaneZachary Collins kept making me think of a dark-haired version of The Mentalist, without quite so much of Patrick Jane’s angsty backstory. This isn’t by any means a bad thing, Simon Baker is a charmingly handsome devil, with equal emphasis on all three parts of that description. Patrick Jane also started out his detective work as a psychic con man with a TV show. The difference is that Jane always knew he was a psychic but didn’t originally work as a detective.

Zach Collins is the other way around; he started as a detective but didn’t believe for a second he was psychic. He just thought he was good at seeing things that other people missed.

Hannah Dawson was not one of the things he missed. He investigated her quite thoroughly when old Ellie Parham hired her as a nurse. He didn’t just investigate, he totally checked her out, and not in any professional way.

But the only action he took on those very non-professional thoughts was to punch her fiance’s lights out when he paid the jackass off three years ago. Paying the moron off was the job Ellie paid him for, after the investigation found out the guy was cheating and was only after Hannah for her steady paycheck.

Ellie made sweet, beautiful Hannah her heir, to the tune of $10 million, in return for taking care of a snarky cat and an adorable doofus of a dog, named after the stars of Ellie’s favorite classic films; Abbott and Costello.

Ellie also left instructions for Hannah to hire Zach’s private investigations firm if she was ever in trouble. When someone tries to kidnap “the boys”, she decides that trouble has come knocking. But once she meets the TV-star handsome investigator she thinks she might be in way over her head.

After all, the only man she’s ever thought she loved (at least so far) left her at the altar with a mountain of expensive wedding bills. She’s not so sure about her judgment where men are concerned.

But the track record for Zach’s security firm is first rate. And Ellie did leave that message. Hannah doesn’t just feel responsible for “the boys”, she loves those two animals and can’t bear the thought that someone might harm them.

So we have a meet-very-cute. Zach knows Hannah, she doesn’t know him. He believes it’s wrong to get involved with her case, but his private investigations company is going broke, and he needs the business. Also, he already knows she’s beautiful and a sweet human being. He likes her and is interested.

But it’s unprofessional for him to get involved with a client, no matter how irresistible she is. Especially one who doesn’t know the whole truth about his previous involvement in her life. Not to mention the added little difficulty that she hires him believing that he is a psychic, and he’s not. Or at least, not at the time.

Then he gets whacked in the head with a baseball bat, and starts hearing voices. One particularly snarky voice wants tuna treats. It’s the cat. (I adore Abbott, he sounds just like one of my cats.)

But Abbott knows things that only someone who lived with Ellie Parham would know. He dispenses clues like, well, treats. And clues are definitely necessary, because there was much more to Ellie Parham than anyone ever suspected. Including her identity.

Verdict: On the Scent is romantic suspense with a light touch that just kept me giggling. Once Zach starts being able to hear Abbott and Costello, it’s hard to stop snickering.

The suspense part of the plot has a bunch of twists and turns. First it looks like someone is out to kidnap “the boys” in order to get the money. Then it turns out that Ellie Parham turns out to be quite the mysterious person, and the real reason for all the skullduggery hinges on her past. I wish we could have met her!

Then there’s the romance. The backstory between Hannah and Zach made for a more interesting than usual misunderstandammit. Both in his choice not to reveal that he was or wasn’t psychic, but also that he had investigated her for Ellie and was partially responsible for the breakup of her engagement. They had more past than Hannah knew about, and the revelations broke a lot of the trust that had started to develop.

I liked Zach and Hannah, and watching them resist their attraction to each other, only to eventually fall, was terrific! And fun. And sometimes very funny. Occasionally steamy followed by laughter (pet owners will understand).


I give  On the Scent by Angela Campbell 4 fur-covered stars!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.