Thursday, July 7, 2022

Stella Cameron - Out of Body

Born of an ancient family of clairvoyants, Marley Millet finds that her psychic gift is both unsettling and incredibly dangerous. She never wants to "travel" again--but the choice is not hers to make.
After glimpsing the fates of two missing New Orleans jazz singers, Marley knows she has no choice and must speak up before more women disappear. Flinty cop-turned-writer Gray Fisher, who interviewed both chanteuses before they vanished, takes a special interest in Marley's incredible story--and in Marley.
Scouring the wild clubs of the French Quarter, Marley and Gray make an unlikely and uneasy team. But their determination is matched only by the heat between them...and the evil they have uncovered.

Comment: I had this book in the shelf since 2010. Sadly, many books just get behind and sometimes, when I pick them up, the wait proves it was a mistake. Other times, it proves why it has languished, and I out this one in this category, for while it had some positive details, the overall effect wasn't one I'll remember fondly.

In this story, we meet Marley Millet who comes from a long line of witches or clairvoyants, and she can more or less leave her body and travel to any place, for instance, to get clues on where some women have been taken after they disappear and the police can't find them. This is the starting point of this novel, and when Marley feels she has enough, she goes to the police hoping they can do the rest. That is where she meets Gray Fisher, a writer, and they end up joining forces to look for clues on the disappearances and some weird things happening. Will they be able to do enough before more people die and while dealing with their also weird connection?

I think the idea of this story is interesting, especially the paranormal aspects. The idea someone could have the power of letting the spirit fly, sort of, to check connections or know about something, while no one could see it happening, it's almost like being invisible. I liked this about Marley and I liked her sense of responsibility and moral compass. This means I liked her as the heroine and was interested in seeing her succeed in helping the missing women.

However, I confess I struggled with maintaining my interest in the reading experience. Some details were interesting on their own but as part of this story, most of the time I was bored and the elements didn't always captivate me to keep reading. I kept finding excuses and I almost dnf'd but since it had been so long in the pile, I made an effort and finished. Perhaps the most negative aspect was indeed how this was written, some things are confusing and I failed to find interest in knowing more.

The paranormal aspect goes beyond the heroine's abilities, or those of her family and even, in a much smaller dimension, of the love interest. Incredibly, when the villain is revealed and we learn how the crimes and the deaths happened, I was... what, it does take imagination and I'd never think of this idea, so great effort by the author! It's just too bad the path to get there wasn't always smooth for me.

The secondary characters all feel... detached for me. I mean this in the sense that we don't get to know enough about them, besides the logical cliches to make them ready to become protagonists in the sequels, in a way that would make me emotionally invested in knowing why they can matter to this plot or to the protagonists. I didn't have that strong sense of family or bonds - despite this being a thing for this family! - as it seems to be implied.

The romance was also rather meh. Some moments between them were cute and I do tend to be a sucker for the "fated mates" type of romance, where something extraordinary happened and made them perfect for each other, but in this case I must say while Gray seemed to be a good guy, their relationship wasn't portrayed in the best way and I was already at the point of just wanting to finish the book.

I'll stop here. I think I'd have liked this book more if I had read it back then, but as always, it is always nice to feel there is one less on the pile.
Grade: 5/10

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