by Vivi Andrews, paranormal (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-718-8
Wyatt Haines, our filthy rich hero, initially assumed that he had acquired a fantastic bargain in his newest real estate property. Okay, so the house is a spooky Victorian house located on South Elm, but the price of the property was way below market value when Wyatt snapped it up. As you can predict, he soon realizes that the house is haunted and worse, the house hates his guts. His intention to pull down what needs to be pulled down and renovate what needs to be renovated so that this house can be remodeled as another addition to his successful chain of country inns may have something to do with it.
That's where Jo Banks, professional ghostbuster from Karmic Consultants, steps in. Actually, she is summoned by Wyatt's secretary, so her first obstacle on the job is the skeptical Wyatt who doesn't believe in ghosts. Jo has the ability to see ghosts since she was a kid, and she knows the house is "very haunted" (her guess is that there are a large number of kiddie ghosts running around in there), but it may take awhile for that fact to sink into that man. The stint ends somewhat well at the end of the day, with Jo managing to send most of the ghosts to the other side. The thing is, with Wyatt being who he is, he interrupts Jo at a crucial moment so there are two kiddie ghosts that end up taking residence, so to speak, in his diaphragm area.
Wyatt refuses to believe that he is "haunted" at first, but when the ghosts start taking over his body and make him do nasty things - like taking a black permanent ink Sharpie and scribbling on his own face - that's when Wyatt realizes that he needs to get in touch with Jo one more time. And that's when the fun really begins, heh, heh, heh.
The Ghost Exterminator is a fabulous comedy that manages to combine ghosts and romance to create a whimsical romance story that works. There aren't any scary moments here despite the presence of the haunted house - think of this one more like a paranormal story where the ghosts turn out to be children who never meant any harm, and romance happens as our hero and heroine try to figure out the ghosts and determine a way to help them transcend to the other side.
A well-paced story with plenty of very effective humorous lines, this story often has me laughing out loud. But even better, the main characters are fun. In a way, they are stereotypes - he's the nothing-personal-it's-business kind of person you could have easily found in a contemporary romance by Jayne Ann Krentz while she's the wise-cracking heroine who is his complete opposite. What I really like here is that the heroine's refreshingly confident attitude allows her to give back as good as she gets from the hero. As a result, the romance works despite the many differences between them, as she doesn't come off like a blindly devoted doormat. Both interact, argue, laugh, and love on an equal footing, and their marvelous dynamics are too much fun to follow.
This book is the first in a series revolving around a business specializing in ghostbusting and paranormal investigations. After reading The Ghost Exterminator, I can't wait to see what the author will offer next. This book is a winner where I am concerned, and I love every word and every page of it.
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