Raven’s Rest, by Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 23, 2016
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Michael Cook has left his abusive lover and settled in the small town of Banning, Illinois. Having nowhere else to go, he checks into the Raven’s Rest Inn and soon learns that the haunted reputation of the hotel is well deserved. Michael gets a job at a local café, where he meets Trey Ramsey. Though Michael has misgivings about starting up a new relationship, Trey seems to be the complete opposite of Michael’s controlling ex, so he decides to give Trey a chance.
Life at the Raven’s Rest becomes increasingly frightening when the ghost of Coleman Hollis appears in Michael’s room. Coleman seems to want something from Michael, and the mystery deepens when Michael discovers he’s the spitting image of Coleman’s lover from years ago. Together, Michael and Trey must discover why Coleman’s spirit is drawn to the Raven’s Rest—and to Michael.
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska
Autumn is my favorite time of year so as the weather starts to change I love nothing more than to put on cozy sweats and sit by the fire with a good book and a cup of coffee. And with Halloween just around the corner, the spookier the book the better. Needless to say I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into Raven’s Rest.
Right out of the gate I was a little concerned that there would be a ton of repetition. Michael was really driving the point home with how things had ended badly with Kevin, so by chapter three I was already sick of hearing about the ex. Luckily, that’s where my worries ended because Michael starts to get on with it and we thankfully don’t have to hear about Kevin for a while.
To be honest, I think Michael and Trey’s romantic subplot could’ve been edited down to make room for more of the paranormal storyline. I was so captivated by Coleman’s story, and intrigued by the history of the haunted hotel that I would’ve liked to have read how the rest of the staff and other guests reacted to the spirits floating around Raven’s Rest. One peculiar character whom I wished had gotten more page time was the psychic and self proclaimed “town witch” who helps Michael communicate with Coleman.
Although not entirely obvious, the mystery was a little predictable. At first Osborne had me guessing but I was able to deduce pretty early on who the guilty party was. I think if there was more of a twist it would’ve bumped this up a half star. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book because it was a pleasant read but I love it when I think I have it all figured out and the author surprises me.
Overall, I liked the story but I think it had the potential to be so much more. Michael and Trey are cute together but I thought their feelings for each other were rushed and yet their relationship takes a back seat to everything else that’s happening in the book. Thankfully, I really liked the paranormal aspect of the book because if it wasn’t there I probably would’ve been pretty bored with Michael and Trey. I just don’t think this author’s voice is a good fit for me but I won’t discount this book for anyone who’s looking for something creepy to read on a chilly night. In that regard, it’s totally worth it.
Hello! I live in rural northern Illinois and have a wonderful dog named Christine, named after the heroine of The Phantom of the Opera. I love Broadway musicals, and head into Chicago at least 20 times a year to see shows. Other than writing, I like folk music, watching British TV shows like Doctor Who, and playing games with my admittedly odd group of friends. I first fell in love at the age of 9. Her name was Alexandra Moltke, and she played Victoria Winters on the soap opera Dark Shadows. Yes, I was one of those kids who ran home from school to watch Barnabas and the other spooky people on that show. I obviously never lost my love for the macabre, and it turns up often in my writing.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.