The premise of Haunted was intriguing: a woman comes home only to discover that her family has been murdered and the killer seems to have a special interest in her. With the help of a detective, she’ll try to outrun the killer until he’s captured, but the bloodbath has only begun and this is a game the killer wants to win.
It promised to be perfect for me, yet... I will be dividing this review in two sections: things I liked and things that need to change. While I didn’t enjoy this as much as I hoped to, I do think the book has potential and might appeal other people.
The idea of this book sounds incredibly interesting. I truly wanted to lose myself in this book, searching for the killer and enjoying a little romance on the side. In that way, the story delivered: I was intrigued by the action taking place in each chapter and wanted to solve the mystery along the protagonists.
The dynamics between characters are well-written and I found them realistic. I would have liked to explore them more, but they bring a lot of life to the story. I won’t say much about this part so I don’t spoil anything, but I really liked the antagonist of the story. His reasons, his actions... everything creeped me out, which is a win in this case. Those are all the good things I can say about this book. The second part of this review is a little more critical.
This book needed more editing. There are too many run-off sentences, disconnected ideas in the same sentence, and weird wording. This pulled me away from the story, even in the scenes I was interested in. The editing is not only relegated to the writing, but also pacing and descriptions, which brings me to my second point.
The story suffers from a LOT of telling-not-showing. This made the reading experience exhausting and took a lot out of my enjoyment from the mystery. Since I was told so much, the clues were a little too in-your-face for me to experience that eureka moment I love in mysteries where everything clicks together.
As much as I enjoyed the character relationships in the story, as stated earlier, I felt like the characters themselves were too bland and two-dimensional. A big part of this relies on the issue with telling-not-showing. Descriptions of mannerisms, attitudes, and behavior are extremely important when we’re getting to know a character, and give a lot of depth to the story as a whole. This story was lacking that cohesive element.
I think the author has a lot of potential in writing mysteries and thrillers. Her plot structure is great and she doesn’t treat the reader in a patronizing way (which is very hard to find in thrillers nowadays). However, this story wasn’t it: more editing could have turned this ok-ish book into a great story.
People new to mysteries might find in this story a good place to start, though. It blends many elements into the story that would be appealing for people who don’t normally read mystery or don’t mind getting clues that quickly reveal the mystery.
I’m a 22 years-old afro-boricua that likes reading about everything, but especially Latinx goodness and diverse voices. I'm in love with everything and anything Jane Austen, mysteries and healthy romances.