Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Book Series Review: Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan

So, I've been lucky over the last month, I've found two books series I love. This one, Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan, is focused around a ghost hunter, Ellie Jordan, who traps ghosts and takes them away from her clients' houses. These are (mainly) fast-paced action stories with a mystery to keep the reader guessing. These are my four reviews from Goodreads.

Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #1)Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure about this book when I first started it. I picked it up because it was a freebie and I like paranormal adventures. The first half of the book is bogged down with too much explanation, introducing the reader to the techniques, processes and equipment that Ellie uses in her paranormal investigations. There are whole paragraphs giving background information, and it was a little wearing.

However, the story held me. Something I'll say about all the Ellie Jordan books, they're good plots. There are spooks and spine chilling moments, mixed with a good mystery, since Ellie has to discover the ghosts' motives for haunting in order to deal with them.

This book is very much plot driven: the ghost hunting and the mystery pull the reader in and I wanted to find out what was going on. That's why I stuck out the explainy bits (that's why I docked it one star) and I was rewarded with a fantastic climax that made me go out and buy the next book.

Cold Shadows (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #2)Cold Shadows by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, I bought this book on the off chance that the story would be as good as the first book in the series, but with a lot fewer explainy bits. My gamble paid off. This is a better story than the first book, more tightly written and with a lot fewer pauses to drop in long explanations.

Like the first, it's plot driven, but the characters do begin to blossom slowly. Ellie is a woman with a troubled background locked in to the paranormal world. She didn't go searching for ghosts, they found her in a brutal way that led her to become a ghost hunter, wanting to help others who might end up in her position. She puts herself danger to save her clients. She doesn't feel sorry for herself and her past, she just gets on woth things with a dry humour as she narrates the story.

As with the first book, this story really pays off in the climax. All the pieces comes together and its exciting, and scary and I immediately went out and bought the next two books and the pre-ordered the fifth. I found myself getting hooked to this series thanks to this story.

The Crawling Darkness (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #3)The Crawling Darkness by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is book three of the series, and by the time I'd picked this up, I'd already read the first two in three days, so I had high hopes for this story too. And I loved it. I had got to know the main characters, Ellie and Stacy, well in the other stories and their repartee in this one made me smile.

This is another strong mystery that I thought I had pegged, but there's a twist at the climax, for which I tip my hat to the author.

Like any series, the ghosts get bigger and badder in this third installment and we find out some background on another character - Ellie has history with this ghost and it makes her vulnerable. That gives this story an added dimension and I couldn't put the book down. I just wanted to find out what happened.

Great mystery, growing characters. I enjoyed being scared by this book.

Terminal  (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, #4)Terminal by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As much as I love the Ellie Jordan books, I was disappointed by this one. The strongest point of these books is the plot, the mystery and this book fell short in comparison to the previous three. It's an interesting overall story about a haunted housing estate, but it just did not hang together as well as the others.

There are some gaps in the story that bothered me. For example, there is an encounter between Ellie and a large number of ghosts in a basement, there's a silent face to face and then it just gets forgotten, not mentioned again. Since EVP had already been used, I thought there might be follow up using this, but there isn't. There's also a lack of interaction with 'the clients' towards the end of the story. I was always rooting for not only Ellie, but the clients as well by the end of the other three stories, but this one felt like they were remote from the end of the story and it left me dissatisfied.

I'm only making a supposition here, but I think the gaps and the remoteness of the story are down to the fact that, as has been the case with the other stories, J. L. Bryan is going bigger with the ghosts, but rather than making an individual spectre more dangerous, he has gone with more ghosts instead, and he's opened the 'stage' of the story out from one house to a large area of country. That created a separateness for me from the people in the story and there were too many moving parts for the plot to keep track, too many ghosts, not really enough resolution.

I also found the climax this time a bit too OTT.

There are lots of good ideas in this story - J.L. Bryan's take on a banshee, which had potential, making deals with hostile ghosts, a mixture of bad guys, but there were so many that none really bore fruit.

I hope the next book focuses back down. This is an okay story, but not a great one like the rest.

View all my reviews

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