Title: The Ghost on My Couch
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Buy Link: Buy Link The Ghost on My Couch
Length: novella, 168 pages
Genre: Contemporary/fantasy/ paranormal mm romance
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: An intelligent and funny twist on “I fell in love with the ghost” theme
Alex Tanner is a male nurse who divides his time between his job and his television schedule. His idea of the perfect partner, like so many other people’s, is a tall, dark, and handsome man. Preferably alive and breathing. Surely that’s not asking too much? Then an uninvited guest—a ghost, of all things—forces Alex to question what he’s always looked for in a lover and his definition of what makes a person so beautiful.
Alex is a twenty-seven-year-old nurse who lives in a small flat, earns a modest salary of eighteen grand (which made me raise my eyebrows until I realized that he lived in London) and is a lonely man who deals with the everyday problems life throws at him as best as he can until one day the problems become a little out of the ordinary. Alex comes home after a crappy day at work and finds a man on his couch watching TV. Alex freaks out at the unexpected guest until the guest helpfully points out that he does not know how he appeared in Alex’s flat and that he is a ghost. As expected, Alex freaks out even more, goes to his neighbor and good friend Andy for help, but of course Andy cannot see anybody in Alex’s flat. Andy leaves, the ghost shows up again and Alex is left to deal with his guest.
I confess, when I saw the blurb for this story, my first reaction was “oh, how very boring and unoriginal this one probably is”. I wanted to sample this author though, so I decided to give it a try and I am very glad that I did. I liked this story very, very much. I loved how much depth the author gave to the both guys. This is the kind of story where we do not see too much happening in the outside world; the action is mostly happening in the Alex’s flat where we get to know Alex and Sid (the ghost) more and more as every day passes, while Sid is stuck at Alex’s place. We get to know not just about their life in general, but some of those little character quirks that made me feel that I was reading about real people, not just characters in the book. Things like Alex’s favorite food being appetizers and why, and that he prefers to eat them in the alphabetical order, and Sid loving Van Gogh’s Irises and how he relates the painting to his life.
The guys have an oddly charming chemistry going on between them. I loved how they are both pretty ordinary looking, at least in comparison to the hunks in many other stories I have read. It was enjoyable to watch how they look to each others eyes, while they are getting more and more attracted to each other. Although, seriously, I would like to eat Alex up at any time, even if he is upset about not having a six pack lol. Sid is such a sweetie and I loved his cat. He is a very shy, very big man with a huge heart and it was a joy getting to know him. I think I fell in love with him the moment he hid in Alex’s freezer for the first time because he did not want to be a bother.
One thing to note, if for you explicit sex is a must have in the story, this story is not for you. There is one short and not very explicit sex scene in the epilogue and that is about it. Personally I was glad that the author developed the characters so well even that meant less time for sex, but that’s just my individual preference.
I really enjoyed how the story ended, at some point I would have called this ending to be very original in the “fell in love with the ghost” subgenre, because most stories I have read with this theme end with another guy dying and joining the ghost. I liked that this one ended differently, even if by now I have read a few similar endings as well.
I would have probably graded this story even higher, but for me the lesson that Alex was supposed to learn did not feel that much of a lesson, if that makes sense. He did not seem to me to feel too much agony when he fell for Sid; I mean he did, but because he was a ghost, not because he was not as gorgeous as Alex’s other flings were. I think what I am trying to say is that I just read it as a love story, not a love story with a morale, which I felt author intended for me to read. Additionally, I think we were supposed to feel that Alex was shallow, but he did not to this reader at all. Shallow people do not do what Alex did for Sid before he even was in love with him.
I also was not quite sure why Alex’s coworker Jackie was present in the story. I mean, I understand what plot function she is performing, but I did not feel that much would have changed in the story had she not been there in the first place.