Jun 2 2014 8:30am

First Look: Jenn Bennett’s Grim Shadows (June 3, 2014)

Grim Shadows by Jenn BennettJenn Bennett
Grim Shadows (Roaring Twenties #2)
Berkley / June 3, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

Archaeologist Lowe Magnusson is packing something everyone wants. The djed amulet, a priceless Egyptian artifact, will fetch Lowe a hefty paycheck from one of San Francisco's wealthiest. But when the handsome Swede runs into his patron's uptight daughter, what he once considered easy money becomes maddeningly complicated.

Cursed with deadly spirits as her constant companions, curator Hadley Bacall must keep calm to hold her dangerous specters at bay and prevent them from lashing out at anything—or anyone. Trouble is, Lowe is driving her crazy, but her father needs the artifact he's transporting. While Hadley can feel the amulet's power, she can't fathom the destruction—or the desire—it's about to stir up.

The second book in Jenn Bennett’s Roaring Twenties series, Grim Shadows is a rollicking adventure set in 1920s San Francisco. Think National Treasure meets Indiana Jones with a side of Ghostbusters. This story features Lowe Magnusson, an archaeologist returning home with a priceless but possibly cursed artifact and curator Hadley Bacall, a woman who can communicate with spirits. This action-packed story will have readers on the edge of their seats as Lowe and Hadley battle both mortal and paranormal enemies, not always sure of exactly what they are fighting against.

Lowe and Hadley meet in a train station in Salt Lake City on the last leg of his journey home from Egypt. Although the two have an appointment (Hadley’s father has a keen interest in the djed amulet Lowe brought back from his dig), Lowe has other immediate concerns and tries to brush Hadley off. He has been followed for much of his journey, and the thugs finally make a move in the train station. Hadley warns him that he may have made a bad choice bringing the amulet home.

Oh, he knew all right. He barely got the damned thing of out of Egypt. While his uncle had battled the Egyptian Ministry of State, Lowe had defended their dig site from looters. He’s been shot at, stoned, stabbed—twice—and had won a fair number of fistfights.

Once he’d made it back to the States, he’d thought he’d be done with all that, but now worried his troubles were only getting started. He’d briefly considered the possibility that the hired thugs on the train tonight might be after him because of his debt to Monk Morales, but if Monk wanted to kill him, he’d wait until Lowe got home. No, these thugs were definitely after the djed.

After narrowly escaping the thugs, Lowe and Hadley make it home to San Francisco. Hadley has a plan to impress her father and needs Lowe to sell her the amulet. Hadley wants to take over her father’s position and needs to prove herself to him. She has had a difficult life due to the fact that ghosts follow her - and even seem to be able to act out on her behalf. Controlling them is an issue, and this causes her to have a very lonely life.

Like the rest of her apartment, the master bedroom contained a minimal amount of furniture. Everything was bolted down: bed, nightstand, chaise lounge. In the six months she’d lived there, her specters had blown out two windows and three light fixtures and had overturned a large armoire. Best not to give them extra kindling, she’d found.

Her father called them Mori. Death specters. Her mother became cursed with them after a trip to Egypt, and when she died, they were passed on to Hadley. Strong, negative emotions called them up, fueled them. Shadowy tricksters, her father had explained when she was a child.

But Hadley’s ability comes in handy when she and Lowe get involved in a quest on behalf of her father. Danger stalks not only Lowe and the amulet, but also Hadley’s father who seems to be suffering from a decades’ old curse. Can Lowe and Hadley find the pieces that go with the amulet? Will they be able to cure the curse? Even more importantly, what are Lowe’s intentions? Turns out that he’s a bit of a con man with a very checkered past. Will his feelings for Hadley be enough to make Lowe rethink his plans?

Jenn Bennett’s Roaring Twenties romances are historicals with a twist. These books should appeal to fans of both historicals and paranormals, as Bennett blends the two elements with ease. The action and suspense plots do tend to slightly overshadow the romance, but that works well here. Grim Shadows is a tale that will keep readers enthralled making them wonder what could possibly happen next. Lowe and Hadley will delight, as the con man meets his match in a strong and highly capable woman who won’t allow anyone to pull the wool over her eyes.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett, available June 3, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble



Jennifer Porter, a mild-mannered librarian by day, runs the review site Romance Novel News and is a compulsive romance reader. She has a tendency to live tweet her craziest reads as @JenniferRNN

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Lady A.
1. Lady A.
I hope is gonna be as good as first one :)
2. JenniferPorter
Lady A., I did find it a bit different than the first one as Lowe and Hadley are very different characters. But it was a great read from start to finish. I'm very impressed with this series.
Lady A.
3. Lady A.
Bitter Spirits was quite intense. Both romance and suspense in good proportion. Looks like here we have more action.
Yeah, I'm goona strat GS this week, maybe even tomorrow ;)
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