Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: The Charlatan’s Conquest
SERIES: Dreamspun Beyond #2, Phantom Fixers #1
AUTHOR: Vivian Dean
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 216 Pages
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2017
A Phantom Fixers Story
With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.
Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.
Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.
The Dreamspun Beyond line so far has greatly impressed me. Both this book and book one were fantastic and my kinds of stories.
This one in particular was very well crafted. I loved the way there were so many layers to the characters and the story and the way all the layers worked together to give this a robust yet entertaining feel. I finished this story feeling so very happy and so very hopeful.
Cruz and brody were both complex characters. Outside of themselves and the main plot, both men had baggage weighing them down emotionally. Cruz with his sister and family concerns and Brody with the estrangement from his father and hanging on to grief from the past. They had so much to do to heal before they could really focus on a romance. I liked that these men were not two dimensional because it gave this story a bit of depth needed to overcome the adorable feel of the romance. It helped balance out the sweetness.
I LOVED that the romance would not leave these men alone. They were meant to be together and by doing so, they actually pushed the other to deal with their baggage and maybe see things in a different light. The romance was quiet and steady and oftentimes had me sighing over the cuteness. It was a bit rushed, but I never felt like it was neglected. I was given everything I needed to understand each step these men took to get closer to one another.
Finally, I thought the plot was fantastic. The way this mystery unfolded and the way the tension increased as the men slowly unraveled what was happening and then made a plan of action to deal with it was compelling. I loved seeing Brody’s brain in action and Cruz’ steady compassion. Together these men took on the world while they slowly gave in to the pull of love. And the final banishment scene was so vivid and interesting. The descriptions and the imagery help emphasize the tension and the bit of emotion embedded in there brought a tear to my eye.
I am really enjoying this new line of books from Dreamspinner Press and especially enjoyed this one. It was interesting and cute and adorable and emotional and fascinating and so much more. But really, the most important piece was that it entertained me and left me feeling all gooey inside. Will Etienne get his story next? Please? Pretty please? With sugar and love on top?