Narrator: J. Scott Bennett
Series: Paxton Locke #1
Published by Self Published / Indie on 6 June 2017
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
Son of a witch.
Family drama is bad enough without adding magic and human sacrifice. Ten years ago, Paxton Locke's mother killed his father in a mysterious ritual that - thankfully - went incomplete. Now, Paxton makes his living as a roving paranormal investigator, banishing spirits while Mother languishes in jail.
When a terrified ghost warns him of a dangerous, newly freed entity, Paxton faces a fight far beyond simple exorcism. In a battle for his very soul, will he be able to endure - or simply fade away?
©2017 Daniel Humphreys (P)2017 Daniel Humphreys
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Fade Paxton is a ghost whisperer who travels around the country making house calls. He sets ghosts free to cross to the other side and deals with other paranormal stuff. At first, I thought the story was being a little trite when we initially meet Paxton checking out a spooky situation at Shirley Jackson’s house. Not the Shirley Jackson best known for her horror genre stories but rather a minor character of the same name. Later it’s revealed that this was an inside joke intended by one of the main characters.
The story moves along pretty quickly, the first ghost we meet giving Paxton a spooky warning. His investigations into the matter come up with dead ends so he’s forced to deal with a piece of his past: his witch of a mother. She’s in prison and he’s got her magic under wraps with his own special abilities, something he refers to as the Push. She taunts him even as she gives him a small clue.
While Paxton has this messed up family and past he also has several good people on his side that he met after the whole sordid affair of his father’s death at the hands of his mother. I really liked that Paxton wasn’t completely on his own nor was he a broken reluctant hero (two plot devices that are a little overused in the urban fantasy/paranormal fantasy genres). He’s been traumatized but he’s also recovered mostly and still believes in good people.
Our hero is very much human. He can be hurt, captured, or even killed. In fact, he gets his butt handed to him more than once. It’s great that he wasn’t the most powerful character in the story and could just stroll through the witchy ghosty mess. Later in the story, he ends up with a temporary sidekick – Cassie. They are both in the same boat (captured by evil witches) and form an alliance with the goal of escape first, kick witch butt second. Cassie was a great addition to the storyline. She’s a bit scared at first but she also has skills she brings to the table, like knowing how to handle guns from her years of hunting.
Things wrap up in a very satisfying way. The mystery played out, the witches’ intentions revealed the escape and then kicking evil in the teeth. That was all very good. And then we have a lengthy wind-down. If I recall correctly, it was about 1.5 hours long. I was surprised that so much had to be addressed and it felt like some of it could have been used to start Book 2. That’s my only complaint about this story.
The Narration: J. Scott Bennett was a great pick for this book. He has a voice that fits Paxton quite well. He also had distinct character voices for each one and his female voices were feminine. He carried off Paxton’s emotions with perfection. He had an excellent voice for Paxton’s evil mom. There were no recording errors.