This is an ebook I got as a loss leader for a series. I'm not into series - they tend to be derivative, repetitive, and boring, and the first volume is nothing but a prologue. I don't do prologues, but the premise for this particular volume sounded interesting and as a stand-alone story, it proved readable in the end.
Just as the title says, Ellie Jordan is a ghost trapper. This story takes place in a society where there's wide belief in ghosts and hauntings, and where evil and vengeful spirits exist, and her job is to catch them. Her job is made easier because of people's beliefs and that fact that even people she hasn't met have heard of her organization. The detection part of her work comes in finding out who the ghost is and what it's needs are so it can be lured into a containment vessel and removed.
Nowhere does the story go into anything about whether Ellie needs to be licensed by the City of Savannah, Georgia to do her job, or whatever, which seemed a bit strange given how her job seemed to be treated very much like any other service job! Pipes blocked? Call the plumber. Ghost infestation? Call Ellie Jordan!
It does go into how she became a ghost trapper though, and commendably not in a flashback, but in a decently-written trip down memory lane. She works for a guy who used to be a police detective. They met when her house burned down when she was in her teens, and have stayed in touch. When Ellie graduated college, she went to work for him, and he's been grooming her to take over the business.
She gets called to a house haunting that seems run of the mill, but once the ghost is removed, things get worse, not better! It seemed a bit obvious, but not too obvious, what was going on, so that wasn't a problem for me, and I liked Ellie's relationship with Stacey, the photographer who's new to the business and so serves as the reader's link to learning about Ellie's job.
There's also a new guy drafted in, and I wasn't sure what purpose he served. The story would have been fine even without him. The only function he actually appeared to fulfill was that of Stacey's future love interest, which is a good reason not to like series. There's no point in having him in this story and if all he does is set up a later romance, then I can do without that and so can the story.
There were one or two writing problems, but nothing big. At one point I read (of a door), "It was sunken at the back of a small brick porch under the shadows of a sharply peak roof." This to describe a door under a portico, which would have saved a lot of writing if the author had only looked it up. It's not hard to find this information these days. But given what he wrote, it should have been 'peaked roof'. At least he didn't write pique roof! LOL!
Another instance was where I read, "I nodded, eased the door closed, and slid the deadbolt back into place." Again, the wrong term was used. A deadbolt is a lock, not a bolt as such. Doors these days usually have the regular lock and a deadbolt right next to it (below or above) which is turned with a key from the outside, and a rotating latch on the inside. The bolt Ellie was referring to here was a regular slide bolt. The deadbolt is called that precisely because it cannot be slid across like a regular bolt.
Finally there was: ' "Thank you," I said, though I had no intent of drinking it' - which should have been 'no intention' not 'no intent' unless you put 'to' after it in place of 'of' and remove the 'ing' from 'drinking'. I guess that would have made it passable. There was one more thing that bothered me. It was when Ellie referred to someone's spouse: "The wife, a pretty woman named Elizabeth Sutton" I didn't get why her looks were relevant.
This was first person voice, and as such it was Ellie's opinion, not the author's/narrator's (if I might make such a dubious distinction!), so it's not entirely unreasonable, but it bothered me because first of all, her looks were irrelevant! It's not like Ellie was judging a beauty pageant!
Secondly it didn't seem like the kind of observation Ellie would make. She wasn't given to classifying women by their looks, whereas a male author tends to be, and far too many female authors too. I don't find this focus on women's looks to be useful or appropriate unless there's something specific about her looks that's relevant to the story. It serves only to demean female characters and by extension, women in general. It's one thing to have a character say it; it's entirely another to have the author say it, even when it's supposedly the first-person voice character's comment.
This is one reason why first person voice irks me, and although it was not so bad in this story, I'm about ready to quit reading such novels period. I've already ditched all of my print book first person novels unread, and I certainly refuse to buy any more such novels unless there's a really good reason to, but lord knows how many I have infesting my large collection of unread ebooks!
But I digress. Back to the topic of classifying women by their looks: we need to be better than this, and YA novels are particularly egregious on this score, even when written by female authors. There are other things an author could have written, had they honestly felt it to be necessary: 'an intelligent-looking woman' maybe? An intense looking woman? An energetic woman? A harried woman? An easy-going woman? A woman who looked tired? A woman with sharp features? A woman with soft features? But unless there's a solid narrative reason for categorizing her, why not just say, "His wife's name was Elizabeth, and she...'? If you're not going to describe her husband as a 'handsome fellow' or something like that, then why go out of the way over his wife? And why 'The wife'? Why not 'his spouse' or 'his partner'?
Other than these few negative criticisms, the novel wasn't bad at all. I do not feel any great urge to go read the next one, but I might read another at some point down the road. As it stands, I commend this as it is as a worthy read.