Author: Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Michael Cook has left his abusive lover and settled in the small town of Banning, Illinois. Having nowhere else to go, he checks into the Raven’s Rest Inn and soon learns that the haunted reputation of the hotel is well deserved. Michael gets a job at a local café, where he meets Trey Ramsey. Though Michael has misgivings about starting up a new relationship, Trey seems to be the complete opposite of Michael’s controlling ex, so he decides to give Trey a chance.
Life at the Raven’s Rest becomes increasingly frightening when the ghost of Coleman Hollis appears in Michael’s room. Coleman seems to want something from Michael, and the mystery deepens when Michael discovers he’s the spitting image of Coleman’s lover from years ago. Together, Michael and Trey must discover why Coleman’s spirit is drawn to the Raven’s Rest—and to Michael.
Review: Michael has finally left his verbally abusive boyfriend. A truck stop pamphlet leads him to a B&B called Raven’s Rest. It’s a Poe themed B&B which would be pretty cool and kind of works with the scary vibe the place has. It’s supposedly haunted which Michael finds intriguing but doesn’t really believe in. Until one of the spirits visits him. Michael doesn’t feel the ghost means him any harm. He has more important things to worry about like finding a job and apartment before his bank account empties. He finds an job easily enough at a local diner. This is owned by he mom of a cute flirty love interest named Trey. Their relationship hits it’s first snag when the friendly ghost attacks Trey in a bout of jealousy. Michael thinks he needs to help the spirit find peace. It’s obviously trying to tell them all something. Someone doesn’t like him looking into the past however. In this small town the ghosts are supposedly just stories and secrets run deep.
I’m a big fan of this author so I pretty much pick up whatever he writes. Raven’s Rest was good but I did not love it like his previous ghost stories. It was spooky and the characters were likable. The problem I had with this story was too much of it relied on one of the MCs Michael making bad decisions. Things like someone is trying to kill me but I’ll walk home alone anyway. The MCs did come across very young though they’re meant to be in their twenties. Their relationship comes about pretty quickly. Despite Michael not wanting to jump into anything right away he likes who he is with Trey. Trey is funny and makes him feel good. He’s a friend when Michael would otherwise be alone in a strange town. They did have good chemistry but there was no tension. Being with Trey did help Michael find himself again after wasting years of his life being someone his ex wanted him to be versus who he really is.
There is a pretty sad story surrounding the ghost and you do feel compelled to help him escape his decades long turmoil. I did like the book. It’s an easy read with a spooky tone. The romance is sweet. There are a lot of likable and quirky characters and you’ll hate the baddies. It’s worth picking up if you like this author or ghost stories.