My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I won On Her Trail by Marcelle Dubé as part of Carina Press’ launch promotion, which rather tickled me since it was one of their initial releases I’d scoped out and put onto my buy list. Woo, free book!
If you look at the blurb for this thing, you can see the basic core concept that made me think this might be fun: “Laura Thorsen returns to Canada only to run afoul of the mob”. “Canada” and “mob” are not two concepts I expect to encounter in the same book. Nor are “ghosts” and “mob”, since Laura’s mother turns out to be haunted by the ghosts of her husband and a former lover. So yeah, this sounded fun and I was happy to get a chance to read it.
Overall I found the characters engaging, although the story felt a bit more weighted than I’d have liked towards the paranormal side of things. The backstory on Laura’s mother and the ghosts is excellent, as is the uneasy relationship between Laura and her mother. On the other hand, the suspense side of things, involving the newspaper expose that puts Laura on the run in the first place, doesn’t quite come together for me and I’m not sure why. I can’t say in fairness that it didn’t get as much development as the haunting plot, because it did–it’s just that it seemed like the book was weighted more towards the haunting and the mother/daughter tension than it was towards the mobster/story plot. I think I’d have liked a bit more balance between the two, or perhaps a bit more buildup to the presence of the ghosts in the plot.
Laura and her love interest Mack had some nice lightly played chemistry, and my only regret here is that Mack struck me as almost too laid-back a character. Writing this review several weeks after I actually read the book, I couldn’t remember the poor guy’s name. I couldn’t help it; this is what the book gets for one of the ghosts being named Sawyer, which promptly trumped Mack in my head. (Thank you, Lost!) Three stars.