Rating: 3 stars
There are ghost stories. And there are ghost legends.
From orphan to saloon girl to ghost whisperer, Hattie Hart has been and seen a lot of things in her time. Her new job as a detective with the Tremayne Psychic Specters Investigations Agency takes her out to the remote town of Carolina City, Nevada, on a vague assignment to investigate the disappearance of a US Marshal.
Except, when she arrives, she meets the devilishly handsome Grant Madsen, a US Marshal who is alive and well. Certainly not missing, but certainly the man of her dreams. So why did her boss send her out to this small boomtown when there’s nothing for her to investigate?
She soon discovers that in Carolina City, there are strange happenings from the afterlife that threaten to kill her or worse. She’ll have to race against time to save her life, the town, and the US Marshal she was sent to find—and maybe, if she’s lucky, her heart.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book. I knew it was about ghosts and written by Erin Hayes, but that’s about it. This one wasn’t fully a book for me, but there were some things I enjoyed and in the end I am glad I gave it a read. I think this is mostly a case of it’s me not the book. And it’s pretty different from the other books by this author that I’ve read, so maybe my expectations steered me wrong a bit.
How the Ghost was Won follows Hattie Hart she’s a psychic investigator and she can see ghosts. I was curious at first to see what Hattie her assignment would be and how the ghost aspect would be handled. She can’t find any leads when she arrives in the town and she only has half of a telegram, so she doesn’t know everything. I was eve wondering why she stayed in town when it didn’t seem like anyone knew anything. It seems like things went a bit slowly for a bit there and that’s saying a lot as it’s a short read. Then towards the end there are some great twists and while I had predicted part of it I didn’t see all the twists coming. It sure was interesting and I liked how things got wrapped up, while leaving things open enough in case the author ever decides she want to write more. The twists were one of my favorite parts of the book as it was quite nicely done and made sense when looking back. There is lots of foreshadowing going on that only makes sense at the end.
From one of the first scenes it became obvious Hattie is a bit of an unreliable narrator, she’s addicted to drugs even though she doesn’t admit that, but she does admit that she can’t always tell ghosts from the living. I am usually not a fan of unreliable narrators and I was constantly doubting her judgment. I didn’t fully warm up to her as a main character, but she was interesting enough to read about.
I just wish there would’ve been a bit more about Hattie her personality and her ability to see ghosts. I am not sure why, but the story just never fully grabbed me. And I never fully cared about the characters. I did like Betty, the mule Hattie lends. There is a bit of romance as well and while I didn’t fully feel it, I did like how things ended up. The book has a bit of a western historical feel and combined with the ghosts it made for a bit of a haunting feel. It did fit the book.
To summarize: this wasn’t quite the book for me. I never fully got into the story or connected with any of the characters. But there were things I did like, like Hattie her mule and there are some great twists towards the end of the story. The twits took me by surprise and I only partially predicted them. I also liked how looking back I saw the foreshadowing the author did. The book has a bit of an haunting atmosphere which did fit the story. I would recommend this to people who like a a western historical paranormal book with a bit of romance and some nice twists.