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Reason to Believe

A Reason To Believe - Diana Copland

4-4.5 stars - This was a very good read that successfully wove together an interesting mystery, spooky paranormal elements, and a nicely developed and satisfying romance.

The story follows Matt, a police detective who is called in to investigate the disappearance of a little girl early Christmas morning. Matt is very by-the-book, so is understandably shocked when the girl's ghost appears before him (and only him) and helps him find where her body is hidden. What the ghost can't tell him though is who murdered her. Fortunately, a famous (and very hot) medium is in town on tour, and is interested in helping Matt out (and is also interested in Matt). Even though he's skeptical about the whole "talking to ghosts" thing, he can't help but start to believe in both Kieran's ability, and the possible future they might have together.

What I liked: Matt and Kieran had great chemistry together, and it was very nicely developed over the novel. (There's also some nice UST as they dance around their attraction, and no real sexy times start until over halfway through.) Even though there is some sexy times, there are only a couple scenes in the whole novel, and the focus is really on their relationship and growing level of trust, friendship, and intimacy. It was very nicely developed and their back-and-forth was a pleasure to read, as was Matt's growing reliance on having Kieran around after spending so much time on his own following the tragic loss of his partner.

The mystery was also very good. I pinpointed the culprit partway through, but had no idea of the motivation or how things would work out, so overall, this was a nicely suspenseful read. The paranormal elements with Abby, the little girl, were also a nice touch.

The only things I didn't like: Probably a few dialogues or bits could have been edited down. (e.g. Kieran's "handsome face" is repeated a lot, so some of those probably could have been culled.)

The most annoying thing was Matt's sister-in-law Sheila, who popped up a lot, and was a very pushy, intrusive character. Most of the time, she was either demanding Matt to stop and explain things to her (with multiple instances of her saying, "What's going on? You better tell me what's going on!"), or she was making knowing looks at Matt about his attraction to Kieran or comments about how he should say something or if they've slept together yet, etc.

I was fine with the author incorporating a family member for Matt who knew him well, but I kind of wish her character was toned down a little, because she was incredibly grating in every scene she was in. (Matt often would yell at her to leave it alone or at one point, "put a sock in it," and I really felt for him, because I wish she would too. Like, seriously, lady. Back off. At times, she also fell into the "support system" female friend stereotype, and didn't always feel like her own separate character.

So, my main beef was one of the side characters. Overall though, the MCs, their relationship, the mystery, all that was very good. And I think it you're looking for a good mystery-romance read, this should really fit the bill. It was tense, interesting, and had a really nice romance.

If there was a sequel with these characters, I'd definitely read it (even with Sheila popping in, although I vote for her and her family to go to Disneyland during the next mystery.)

Plus, as of right now, the ebook is priced at $1.99. That's a really nice deal for a very good full-length novel.