S.E. Harmon

Books: Mystery | Fantasy | LGBT

The Spectral Files: P.S. I Spook You (2019), Principles of Spookology (2020), Spooky Business (2020)

The Spectral Files

P.S. I Spook You (2019)

PS I Spook YouCouple of things to note, start with the fact this is self published, so parts of it are a little rough. Not typos or anything, but there story could have been tightened up in a few places where I got confused or felt like I missed something subtle.

That said, it was an interesting mystery. Rain Christiansen is a profiler for the FBI, but a break got him put on administrative leave, and then sent back to his hometown to work on a cold case.

A case where his ex still lives and works on the local police force.

What was confusing at the beginning was trying to figure out why Rain and Daniel broke up and why they are so uncomfortable with each other.

It also might have been helpful to know earlier in the book that the ghosts didn't always know where their bodies were or who had murdered them.

But there was a great deal of snark.

I scowled. They should just rename the Internet "what the fuck happened to my day" and be done with it.

And I liked the ghosts. And it did eventually make sense how and why things had gone wrong between Rain and Danny, but I found that part a bit frustrating.

So, quite good for what it was, even if I didn't quite buy the ending.

April 2020 | Rating: 7/10

Principles of Spookology (2020)

Principles of SpookologyRain Christiansen is back home, working with his partner Daniel McKenna in the newly created PTU, an offshoot of the cold crimes unit, except that they get their leads through the cold cases through Rain's talking with ghosts.

Unfortunately, the ghosts won't leave Rain alone, and their requests for help keep getting more demanding, and it's wearing more and more on Rain–and for Daniel, with whom Rain is all but living right now.

The best part of this story is the snarkiness.

"Do you know what time it is?" I had a vague idea.


"It's three in the morning," he said before involving my Echo. "Alexa, what time is it?"

"The time is three oh four a.m.," she agreed.

Oh, she was ripe for a date with a sink full of water.

One of the threads of the story is how Rain needs to learn to deal with his powers as a bridge. That the ghosts are slowly destroying his life, but getting help means truly admitting that he has this power he never wanted.

Also, this is akin to my experience with meditation.

Feel the energy coursing through your body, opening you up like a flower," he said. "Focus on opening. You're a flower. A beautifully open flower."

I'm a flower. I closed my eyes in concentration as I thought about that. My stomach rumbled in warning as I caught a hint of sugar and butter in the air. No, you're not hungry, you're a flower. Although I suppose flowers do get hungry. Isn't that what the whole photosynthesis thing is all about?

The mystery here was a little more problematic, because I was never quite certain why Rain thought that group of ghosts were connected. After all, he gets lots of ghostly visitors, so it was never clear to me what tied those deaths together in his mind.

But it was a fun and enjoyable story.

May 2020 | Rating: 7.5/10

Spooky Business (2020)

Spooky BusinessRain Christiansen is settling into life with Danny. They both work for the cold case unit, which uses Rain's (non-publicized) talent as a Medium to help solve cold cases. The fact that Rain worked as a profiler for the FBI doesn't hurt.

But the FBI wants him back, and his old boss has asked him to interview a serial killer to see if the victims can be located (and if the killer had added his wife to the total)–all of which are complicating his relationship with Danny.

Rain's parents bought the land next door, and are now able to interfere at will.

My mother opened her mouth gleefully, and my father, now my favorite parent, shoved a spoonful of the questionable mac and cheese in it. "Mjfsnuf," she mumbled.

She stared at me without speaking. Her mouth moved silently, and I figured she was counting. She put the pentagon-shaped stone in my palm, and when I opened my mouth, she sent me a warning look. "I'd like you to remember I have another one of you, and I'm willing to make do with just my first-born."

Rain is still prickly with everyone, but he's finally accepted that he is a medium and can talk to ghosts, and is learning how to deal with the ghosts in his life. Unfortunately, he's not really learning fast enough.

The mystery was ok. There were a couple issues where I lost track of who did what and was related to whom and how, but it wasn't too bad (esp for a self-pubbed book).

But the strength of the story was the characters, and I did adore the back and forth.

I could see the writing on the wall. I leaned over my Echo. "Alexa, order a family size bag of Skittles."

Kevin pointed at me. "You've always been the brains of this team, Christiansen. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

"Alexa, order a rifle with a scope."

It was fun, and I enjoyed it and it worked into the limited scope I have for books right now (nothing too dark, nothing too grim, nothing with an unhappy ending, lots of humor).

September 2020 | Rating: 8/10