Banks’s debut marks the start of a promising urban fantasy series, something like Ghostbusters with a British accent. Kester Lanner was raised by his mother and only discovers after her death that his father is alive and eager to welcome him into the family business in Exeter: Dr. Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural. A job as a spirit-hunting investigator doesn’t exactly thrill this nervous academic, who prefers “the predictable, the reliable, and the well-established.” Despite his misgivings, 22-year-old Kester joins the firm and soon discovers that he has a rare skill that could help give the company the edge it needs over the competition. The real challenge comes with a dangerous case dealing with a haunted painting of a mysterious lady in green that charms every man who sees it. Banks introduces all the necessary background of a series launch, including Kester’s uneasy relationships with his new job, the father he never knew he had, and coworkers who aren’t sure how much they can trust him, as well as a supernatural landscape that mixes folklore, legend, and deadly reality. Contemporary fantasy fans hungry for a new angle will enjoy this one.(Publisher's Weekly)
Kester Lanner is a shy, quiet introvert who aspires to nothing more than to live an ordinary life with his indulgent mother. But the safety and security that he has always known is stripped away when his mother succumbs to cancer, and on her deathbed asks him to find his long-lost father, Dr. Ribero. Finding Dr. Ribero isn’t hard, but what else Kester discovers has him terrified to stay. His father and his eclectic associates run the Agency of the Supernatural, catching spirits and sprites in recycled water bottles and banishing bloodthirsty ghosts through homemade gadgets. Kester is a self-described coward but can’t help coming back to Dr. Ribero to learn more about his mother’s hidden past with the agency. As with many debut series, this worthwhile launch has a lot of ground to cover in introducing this paranormal agency and its investigators, but readers will forgive its initial slow pace and eagerly anticipate the second volume. VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in modern-day ghost stories or edgier cozy mysteries.―Jennifer Funk, McKendree Univ. Lib., Lebanon, IL(Library Journal)
"Ghosts and ghost hunters are a well-kept secret in the England presented in Banks’ first novel, the start to the Dr. Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural series. Kester Lanner, our protagonist, discovers the Agency after his mother sends him to find Dr. Ribero. Lanner is quickly found out to have a special and rare gift: he can open doors into the spirit world. When the agency catches a dangerous and important mission, they insist on taking Lanner along to help. The case proves tricky as the ghost has ingrained herself into her portrait, and to remove her from the house, they must pull her out and put her in the storage container. The team interacts with a few spirits in the book, but none of the missions are scary. The story lacks the atmosphere of a truly terrifying haunting, but the mystery itself and the members of the agency are fun and compelling. This is a cozy haunting story, instead of a poltergeist-filled destination tale." ― Emily Whitmore(Booklist)
From the Back Cover
Kester Lanner didn’t know what he was getting into when he followed his mother’s dying request to contact the mysterious Dr. Ribero. Kester's youthful surety of the world is shaken as he learns the secrets his mother took great care to keep. Meeting Dr. Ribero reveals a side of his mother he never even guessed existed, for Ribero is his long lost father, and soon Kester is thrown into the family business: catching supernatural spirits.
A logically-minded academic type, Kester is frightened by the sudden plunge into an unknown and dangerous world. He's intrigued, despite his fears, as he reads an old diary that tells the chilling story of the portrait of a beautiful woman, which has become the home of an old and malevolent spirit. She’s a cunning spirit, and she just might be more than Dr. Ribero’s agency can handle.
As Kester becomes enmeshed in a struggle with a ghost so powerful and haunting, he begins to wonder if his first real case with the family business might just be his last.