Shadows Of Evil
by Cheryel Hutton, paranormal (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-949-2

Shadows Of Evil is not what I'm hoping it to be, and that's a little disappointing. The prologue is deliciously nasty and since there is a haunted house in this story, I find myself hoping for some scary stuff to go with the romance. However, for the most part, the horror aspects come into play only in the last two dozen or so pages of this story.

Spook enthusiast Kia Wolfe, our heroine, decides to move into an old two-story house said to be haunted in the sleepy town of Mountain Shadows, Tennessee. Her dog Dracula is coming along, of course. Hoping to start a new life of sorts after the dissolution of her engagement, she finds a pleasant diversion in the form of Garrett McKnight, the owner of the company she has hired to renovate the house. But there are more than meets the eye when it comes to Garrett and the house, however.

Despite their rather typical backgrounds involving lousy exes, Garrett and Kia on the whole are likable characters with adequate depths. The romance is fine, although I believe it could have been developed better. I can easily get that these two like each other, but I don't see any intense emotional connection between them. They seem more like friends than passionate lovers here, hmm.

I wish this story is more scary. After the gripping prologue, it's a slow wait until the last few chapters for the author deliver on the chills and scares. While the rest of the story would have been fine in any other story, here I find myself feeling impatient and wishing that these people would stop talking and muddling around. Why haven't blood ooze from the walls yet? Will there be a creepy head-rotating demon girl? Where are the spooks? Well, the spooks are here, but they are taking their time in showing up, sigh. I could also do without the always annoying "I know some important information but I won't tell until late in the story when it's convenient" secondary character plot device.

Shadows Of Evil is a pleasant and readable story with likable lead characters, but I wish there are more scares and creepy moments spread throughout the story instead of just being compacted into the last few chapters. The story comes off a little flat and even dull as a result.

Rating: 76

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