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The Ghost, the Girl, and the Gold: A Myron Vale Investigation Paperback – October 9, 2016
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Praise for Scott William Carter and the MYRON VALE INVESTIGATIONS
"Scott is one of those rare writers who can and does cross genres, and do it well. You never know what kind of story you'll get from him, but you do know that it'll be good." - Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Hugo award-winning author of The Disappeared
From the Author
Never miss a new Myron Vale book: Sign up for the new release mailing list by going to this link (copy/paste into browser): swcarter.com/news
- The Haunted Breadbox (short story prequel)
- Ghost Detective
- The Ghost Who Said Goodbye
- The Ghost, the Girl, and the Gold
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Then near the beginning of this book, a character that I already found incredibly annoying described one of the main character's good friends who happens to be African American as "big, black and grumpy". And the main character said nothing! Why would he ignore such a racist comment about his close friend? I don't care that the two characters in question already had an antagonistic relationship. The main character should have come to his friend's defense since she couldn't herself. I decided at that point I couldn't stomach reading anymore because I could no longer identify with the characters in the slightest.
This third book is Carter at his best. He naturally includes a finely tuned sense of humor. And then everything is spinning out of control, and the reader realizes that she's gripping her Kindle so hard her hands are cramping, and it's 3:00 in the morning.
The good stuff:
This is modern noir with ghosts, which is a terrific premise. I like the way the setting is used, I like the underlying the premise that the hero can see ghosts because of a head wound, I like the community of living and dead the author builds.
The endings on these stories are problematic. The first one came out of left field, pulling every plot and subplot together in a last swing so wide that you could hear the plot creak. The same thing happened with the second: I still don't know what the antagonist actually was. The third one ended with a major character making a decision that came out of nowhere and made no sense. In all three cases, it felt like the author needed those things to happen, not that the characters would do them.
The women in these stories, the ones that matter, are all beautiful with fantastic bodies and they all want Myron, possibly because whenever Myron has sex, it's always fantastic. Myron is also very good-looking, as the women keep telling him. I was okay with the first gorgeous client with the knockout body who came into his office because that's a classic noir opening. But then Myron's wife was beautiful with a great body hidden under her puffy coat, and his partner was gorgeous with a great body, and his later lover was beautiful (and much younger than him, as everybody keeps telling him) with a killer body.
I will give the author credit for not fridging anybody--most of the women who aren't already dead survive--but their function in the text is to serve Myron (why does his ex-partner do whatever he asks as long as he plays pool with her?) and to be threatened by the antagonist so that Myron can feel pain and rescue them. So they're motivation and a source of pain but aside from whining about not getting enough attention from him, they're not really characters on their own. Complicating this is the fact that Myron's not telling any of them the truth and spends most of his interior life either thinking about women's bodies and meeting their eyes in significant ways but then virtuously denying himself or feeling sorry for himself because he's surrounded by ghosts, which is the only interesting thing about him, so for the life of me, I cannot see what they see in him.
But the thing that really ended it for me was in the last book where there's a little girl ghost named Grace who had been horribly abused and murdered and who is now haunting an empty house. Myron talks to her and gets important information about her and is very gentle with her, a good guy who clearly cares. Then the antagonist takes the memory of Myron from the little ghost so she continues to fear her abuse, and when Myron shows up to ask questions again, she assumes he's come to hurt her. Myron's trying to save another little girl who's alive, so he has to leave her, but I kept thinking he'd go back and do something to help the little ghost again because she really is living in hell. But nope, once Myron has solved the mystery and rescued the women who want him, and been handed more man-pain through the inexplicable actions of one of the women he loves, he just leaves with the other woman he loves. Never thinks about that little ghost again; I'm not sure if Myron forgot her or if the author did, but since I think they're pretty much the same guy, it doesn't matter. If Myron's a rescuer, he should rescue. If it's not logical that he can rescue the little ghost, don't put her in the book and leave the reader with the knowledge that nobody can ever save a tormented little soul.
I also don't get why all the ghosts are afraid of Myron since he never does anything horrible to them, but I could have rolled with that. It was Myron, the great lover of only beautiful women who give him manpain that finally made me decide to not read any more by this author. That and Grace.