Stumptown Spirits (A Legend Tripping Novel)

Author: E.J. Russell

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Rating: 3.5 stars

Buy Links: Riptide & Amazon

Type: Novel

Received from Publisher


Blurb: What price would you pay to rescue a friend from hell?

For Logan Conner, the answer is almost anything. Guilt-ridden over trapping his college roommate in a ghost war rooted in Portland’s pioneer past, Logan has spent years searching for a solution. Then his new boyfriend, folklorist Riley Morrel, inadvertently gives him the key. Determined to pay his debt—and keep Riley safe—Logan abandons Riley and returns to Portland, prepared to give up his freedom and his future to make things right.

Crushed by Logan’s betrayal, Riley drops out of school and takes a job on a lackluster paranormal investigation show. When the crew arrives in Portland to film an episode about a local legend of feuding ghosts, he stumbles across Logan working at a local bar, and learns the truth about Logan’s plan.

Their destinies once more intertwined, the two men attempt to reforge their relationship while dodging a narcissistic TV personality, a craven ex-ghost, and a curmudgeonly bar owner with a hidden agenda. But Logan’s date with destiny is looming, and his life might not be the only one at stake.


Review:  Riley Morrel wants to know why his boyfriend, Logan Conner, cheated on him then dumped him. Things were good. Really good. When Riley happens to be in the same town where Logan now lives he just so happens to go to the bar where Logan works. Logan is stunned. He’s still so much in love with Riley, but he has a goal and he doesn’t want Riley hurt. Riley has his own job to do. He works as a folklorist on a TV show that explores myths and folklore. No one really believes they’re filming shows about actual paranormal phenomena. Riley and Logan find themselves together again and again. Of course the show cast and crew go to the bar where Logan works. Of course. Logan doesn’t want to hurt Riley, but he can’t stay away. Unfortunately, Logan’s time is running out. He’s got an ex-boyfriend to rescue. Logan is one of the few believers in paranormal phenomena. He knows all too well how real it is, and he’s got to make amends. It doesn’t really matter how much Riley and Logan love each other, because Logan won’t be here. Riley has plans to prove him wrong.

I enjoyed this book. I also thought it could have been better, as though it were full of untapped potential. I liked the characters of Riley and Logan, but felt many of the secondary characters were two dimensional. The bad guy was bad. I didn’t feel hearing his story from his perspective would make him the hero. He was just a greedy creep. The star of the TV show in which Riley worked was shallow. There was no real nuance, he was just shallow and frequently used for comedic relief.

On occasion I felt the prose itself was a little funky. Several times we’re told one of the characters felt his heart beating in his chest. Good. That’s the best place for it. I’d worry if it were elsewhere. The nerd falling for the bad boy trope is cute, but at times felt overly-stressed with Riley never realizing how cute and attractive he really is.

Like I said I did enjoy this book. Logan, the bad boy, was trying really hard to do the right thing. He was burdened with the weight of his own family history and his own impulsive decisions. His attempts to right wrongs were not impulsive or ill conceived. He’s a bad boy, not an idiot. It’s the nerd that really saves the day, though. Riley does the research to figure out how to actually resolve the paranormal problem facing Logan. Logan tries to brute force the situation, and it isn’t a feasible solution. The real hero of this tale is the guy who spent hours in front of his computer and made a bunch of phone calls. It was less dramatic and self sacrificing, but real work is rarely glamorous.

I think this is a fun and enjoyable paranormal romance. I had some issues, but they weren’t extreme. It wasn’t awesome, but not everything can be. I definitely want to read the sequel.

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