Dana reviews The Forgotten Dead (OutFoxing the Paranormal Book 1) by Jordan L Hawk (Published by Widdershins Press LLC, April 15, 2022. 178 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Parapsychologist Dr. Nigel Taylor doesn’t work with psychic mediums. Until, that is, a round of budget cuts threatens his job and an eccentric old woman offers him a great deal of grant money. The only catch: he must investigate a haunted house with a man she believes to have a true gift.
Oscar Fox, founder of the ghost-hunting team OutFoxing the Paranormal, has spent his life ignoring the same sort of hallucinations that sent his grandmother to an insane asylum. When he agrees to work with the prestigious—and sexy—Dr. Taylor, he knows he’ll have to keep his visions under wraps, so his team can get a desperately needed pay day.
Soon after Nigel, Oscar, and the OtP team arrive at the house, the questions begin to pile up. Why is there a blood stain in the upstairs hallway? What tragedy took place in the basement? And who is the spirit lurking in the closet of a child’s bedroom?
One thing is certain: if Oscar can’t accept the truth about his psychic abilities, and Nigel can’t face the demons of his past, they’ll join the forgotten souls of the house…forever.
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I am a huge fan of Jordan L Hawk, so it is no surprise that I jumped at the chance to read this new series by the author. Every series by this author is different and usually offer characters of the paranormal variety. Though OutFoxing the Paranormal is not connected to any other series, it slightly reminds me of the Spirits series because of its combination of science and ghosts.
Nigel is a transman who works for the Institute of Parapsychology at Duke university. When Nigel was young, his best friend’s family was murdered across the street from where he lived. There was, and still is, a lot of survivors guilt, and I think it’s why he goes into parapsychology, survival research, specifically. Nigel is a likable character but his personality seems a little washed out. Maybe because of his past, or because his job is hanging on a thread.
Enter a wealthy benefactor who wants to give Nigel grant money if he works alongside a group of ghost hunters who have an online show. Oscar Fox and his friends/crew could really use the money that this benefactor offers, also. All they and Nigel have to do is investigate the house that has stood empty since Nigel’s friend, the friend’s family, and the murderer died there.
Oscar is an ex-college football player, and an accountant who ghost hunts on the side. His grandma was put away for hearing “voices,” so he largely ignores the weird feelings and voices he sometimes hears while ghost hunting, fearing that he might be crazy. I really like Oscar and even though he gets mad when he finds out the real story of the house Nigel had him explore, he does get over it without too much drama.
Oscar’s crew is a small but diverse group, and I love the representation in this story. The ghost scenes are probably not too scary for most people, but since I’m sort of a wuss when it comes to horror-ish books and movies, they did give me a chill or two. It was an enjoyable book, though not particularly long. There also isn’t a lot of intimacy on page. I could have used just a little bit more connection between Oscar and Nigel, but I think that will grow with further books in the series, and I look forward to reading them.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Jordan L. Hawk is a trans author from North Carolina. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave him a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When he isn’t writing, he brews his own beer and tries to keep the cats from destroying the house. His best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook.
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