Review: Cold Shadows by J. L. Bryan

Cold Shadows by J. L. Bryan puts Ellie Jordan, a professional ghost trapper, face to face with a mysterious, creepy and outright dangerous case of haunting.

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The Paulding family invites Ellie and her assistant Stacey to investigate their new mansion where odd things keep happening. Toys play by themselves, there are odd water leakages and a strange, oppressing pressure seems to linger in the rooms. True enough, Ellie is soon convinced the mansion is haunted but not just by a regular ghost — she believes a poltergeist is involved too. Whatever dark history the mansion hides, the people from the past haven’t let go of it and seem to have malicious plans for the new family. Ellie must act fast and figure out the pieces before it’s too late for the house, the Pauldings and, perhaps, for Ellie herself.

Something about this series manages to captivate my interest in a level I never expected. In fact, when I started reading the first book, I wasn’t convinced. I thought about giving up. But I’m glad I kept reading because after the first few chapters I was hooked and with Cold Shadows I was hooked immediately. What a better opening hook than delivering a line of dialogue: “That’s where the bodies are buried.”

I like Ellie’s character. She’s very business-like but you can tell she cares. Stacey offers a lighter balance to Ellie’s more serious character, and they make a great team. I even liked the Paulding family, including their moody teenaged daughter. I mean, okay, the teenager is a bit cliched but teens can be like walking cliches so I didn’t mind.

And the plot. Like last time, I was drawn into the mystery and I did get creeped out at certain parts. The book did a great job at creating atmosphere and making me feel like I was there, following Ellie around as the story unfolded. Perhaps there didn’t have to be as much repetition from the first book, like some of Ellie’s history and stuff about the ghost traps, but it didn’t bother me that much.

I’d recommend this to those who like paranormal YA. I’ll definitely pick up the third book in the series at some point.

∗4/5∗

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