Grave Phantoms

Jenn Bennett. Berkley Sensation, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-28076-8
Bennett’s Roaring Twenties historical paranormal series returns to form with this solid third installment (after Grim Shadows). Astrid Magnusson, the daughter of a rich bootlegger, isn’t a promising romantic heroine: she’s spoiled, frivolous, and prone to acting out. Bo Yeung, her brother’s factotum, who’s been hopelessly in love with her for years, doesn’t have much to hang his passion on aside from admiring her legs and thinking her nonstop chatter is cute. Bennett wisely focuses on a plot that balances two problems: wrangling the troubles brought on by an ancient turquoise sculpture that gives Astrid frightening visions, and creating an arrangement that will permit Astrid, a wealthy white woman, to freely love Bo, a working-class Chinese man, in 1920s San Francisco. Given that Chinese are barred from most white-owned establishments and miscegenation is legally prohibited, the latter conundrum is the more formidable, but the sculpture brings with it a knife-wielding pursuer who’s impossible to ignore. Steady, thoughtful Bo, with touches of the poet and the thug, is the star, steering this mismatched but charming pair through their rocky shoals, and the time spent in his head makes this a worthwhile read. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/06/2015
Release date: 05/05/2015
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