Book Reviews

The Charlatan's Conquest (Dreamspun Beyond, Phantom Fixers 1) by Vivien Dean at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Paranormal / Ghosts/Spirits/Hauntings / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 16-August-2017

Book Blurb

With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.

Book Review

“A person terrified with the imagination of spectres, is more reasonable than one who thinks the appearance of spirits fabulous and groundless.” ~Joseph Addison

Cruz Guthrie, of 'A Charlatan’s Conquest' by Vivien Dean, is approached by his friend and paranormal investigator, Etienne Newman, to fill in for him while he is recovering from his last job. At first, he balks but Cruz could really use the money. Etienne swears that it won't take long to teach him the basics. He's swept the house before and found no paranormal activity. Still, the client, Loren Weber, insists that there is. He wants another investigation and is willing to pay extra for it. Reluctantly, Cruz learns what he needs to bluff his way through a job, totally unprepared for what he finds.

Brody Weber, Loren's son, is being protective of his father when he rushes down to see him, Brody is angry at his father for not telling him about the arrangement and is prepared to dislike the man who he believes is trying to take advantage of him, even though Loren called Cruz, not the other way around. Brody isn't prepared for Cruz's appearance and manner to be as open as it appears to be. Cruz tries to explain to Brody that he's not there to exorcise any ghosts because he's been told there are none there. When Brody proclaims that that is because there's no such thing as ghosts, the paranormal activity begins. Brody is frightened and embarrassed. He doesn't make the mistake of incurring the ghost’s wrath again. Brody tells Cruz that, even if there are ghosts, he doesn't believe Cruz can do anything about them.

Although Cruz seems cool and collected, he is in a panic. He calls Etienne who tries to calm him down and reminds him how to start the investigation, with a sweep of the house. Realizing that they got off on the wrong foot, Brody helps Cruz with the examination of the residence to see where the paranormal activity exists. Soon, Cruz gains Brody's trust and he confesses that the ghosts aren't in the house, they are there because of him.

The characters are all well thought out and interesting. I fell in love with Cruz right away. Brody took a bit longer but once I realized what a tumultuous life he had led, I felt sorry for him and came around quickly. I enjoyed all of the paranormal explanations, especially that Vivien leaves the question of whether or not ghosts are real. The “personal” haunting was a new twist that surprised me. I'd have called it possession but there may be a difference I don't understand. Thanks, Vivien. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to the others to come. By the way, you will never catch me saying that ghosts are not real.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 216 pages/53176 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-August-2017
Price $4.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback, $9.99 bundle, $14.95 audiobook
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