Title: Raven’s Rest
Author: Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 23, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 1.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Michael Cook has left his abusive lover and settled in the small town of Banning, Illinois. Having nowhere else to go, he checks into the Raven’s Rest Inn and soon learns that the haunted reputation of the hotel is well deserved. Michael gets a job at a local café, where he meets Trey Ramsey. Though Michael has misgivings about starting up a new relationship, Trey seems to be the complete opposite of Michael’s controlling ex, so he decides to give Trey a chance.
Life at the Raven’s Rest becomes increasingly frightening when the ghost of Coleman Hollis appears in Michael’s room. Coleman seems to want something from Michael, and the mystery deepens when Michael discovers he’s the spitting image of Coleman’s lover from years ago. Together, Michael and Trey must discover why Coleman’s spirit is drawn to the Raven’s Rest—and to Michael.
Running from his controlling boyfriend Keith, Michael starts a new life in a nearby small town and in the space of a few days, acquires a new boyfriend … and encounters a ghost. The mystery of what happened to Bryan Finn and Coleman Hollis is counterbalanced with Michael making a fresh start and learning to trust his own instincts.
In the 1980’s, rumor was Coleman Hollis and Bryan Finn were close friends – perhaps more than friends – until one day Bryan Finn disappeared and Coleman left town, never to be seen again (although his father Darrell claims he married and occasionally calls). Turns out Michael is the spitting image of Bryan Finn and after a ghostly Coleman appears to him several times at the Raven’s Rest, Michael knows he has to find out what happened to Bryan and Coleman.
Michael begins working at a local cafe and meet Trey, an aspiring black-clad musician and they fall in insta-love almost immediately, although there is little chemistry between them on the written page, and most of the sex scenes are off-page. Once the basic elements of the paranormal mystery were revealed, and Trey and Michael found one another (around 30%), the pace of the book seemed to slow down a bit too much, until the ending.
I had a few problems with the plot of “Raven’s Rest” – mostly
- if anyone suspected that Bryan’s and Coleman’s disappearance was not legitimate, why didn’t they check social media or even Google them, or ask the deputy sheriff to check records? Also once they suspected that Darrell Hollis and possibly Sheriff Thorton were killers, why did Michael tell Thornton about the body in the vacant lot? And after all the foreshadowing about Michael’s abusive ex-boyfriend Kevin, their eventual confrontation was very anticlimatic.
Coleman and Bryan’s story was very heartbreaking and their resolution was very touching, unfortunately more so than Trey and Michael’s story, IMHO. I would recommend this book with caution, but fully understand if my concerns about plot points aren’t as important to other readers.
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