Ghosts, by Jackie Keswick
Series: The Power of Zero, Book 2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 10, 2016)
Genres: Gay, M/M, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Buy Links: eBook (Publisher)
Jack Horwood doesn’t do families. Or Christmas. From the time his mother sold him to her pimp to the moment he walked out on the man he loved, Christmas has always been about change and painful choices. This year seems no different. Helping Daniel and Nico recover from their imprisonment and hunting down those responsible puts Jack in a frame of mind he doesn’t want to inflict on anyone. Least of all Gareth and the tentative relationship they’ve started to rebuild.
But Gareth, for whom Christmas is all about new beginnings, won’t let Jack take the easy way out. He makes him face his ghosts instead. Even when said ghosts invade their bedroom.
When Daniel’s parents are found, Jack is determined to settle the matter without involving Daniel at all. But fate decrees otherwise, and it’s Gareth who helps him finally understand that the strongest bonds are those forged together. Once he gets that, Jack can step up and make a decision designed to lay his ghosts to rest—for good.
Ghosts is the sequel to Job Hunt and should not be read as a stand-alone.
And if you’re right about endings being new beginnings, then I need to lay a few ghosts before I miss out on another one.
Jack is a man with a lot of ghosts haunting him, and a lot of issues that came up in Job Hunt. He helped to rescue two young boys from abuse, and he overcame his guilt and fell in love with his former Army CO.
So with Christmas around the corner, Jack realizes that he needs to lay a few of those ghosts to rest, and Gareth is more than happy to help him.
I really struggled with this novel, though I thought the plot had potential to be a fantastic one. But it felt like Keswick was trying to focus too much on the trivial issues, and not enough on the serious problems that are weighing Jack down. Instead of addressing his past, she shows Gareth being paranoid about Jack leaving him (when we’ve seen again and again that Jack doesn’t back down from a challenge); she tries to drive a wedge between them via Aidan, the lawyer who tries to make them doubt each other when they’re clearly already on the same page.
And the potential drama from Nico and Daniel’s court case, from Daniel’s family being found… none of that really surfaces either.
I think this was intended to be a very sweet, intimate look at Gareth and Jack’s relationship, and to show the way Jack is growing as he overcomes the horrors of his past. But it just felt like too much focus was on the petty disruptions, and not enough on the serious issues.