**3.5-stars rounded up**
Her Lost Soul is the 2nd-installment to Helen Phifer’s Paranormal Mystery series, Detective Maria Miller.
As the name suggests, this series follows Detective Maria Miller and her partner, Frankie Conroy, as they investigate possible paranormal cases, in and around NYC.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Haunting on West 10th Street, so was looking forward to being reunited with Maria and Frankie.
Just to be clear, this is actually a Paranormal Mystery series. I know a lot of Readers enjoy the feel of, is it paranormal, is it not, but then when it comes right down to it, they don’t actually enjoy a paranormal conclusion, or explanation.
This isn’t a Scooby-Doo situation, where the mask is pulled off at the end to reveal the old librarian, who has been tricking everyone with mirrors and lighting effects.
The case in this novel is the disappearance of 17-year old, Riley Holt, daughter of a local Sheriff, who went missing while exploring an abandoned asylum with some friends.
Inspired by media such as Ghost Adventures, the four teens entered the asylum to explore and have some fun. Things start getting creepy though and in a sudden panic, they all flee, only noticing once they are outside that Riley is no longer with them.
Since the asylum is believed to be haunted, and after vigorous searching, no signs of Riley are found, Maria and Frankie are called in to take over the case.
As known experts in all things unexplainable, they seem like the right people for the job.
Maria and Frankie are forced to dig into the dark history of the asylum, leaving no stone unturned in their desperate search for Riley.
As with the first book in the series, this one also contains a historic perspective that is in some way connected with the current investigation.
In this case, we follow a patient at the asylum in 1960. We go back and forth between her experiences at the asylum, including the people she interacts with, and Maria and Frankie’s investigation.
I did really enjoy this. It didn’t hit as hard for me as the first book, I think because I didn’t find the mystery as creepy as that first one.
Also, it almost felt too short. I would have enjoyed a longer build-up to the final showdown and some more explanation as to how this was all resolved. I know what the results of the resolution are, but am unclear how we got there really.
With that being said though, I still found the back-and-forth perspectives intriguing and loved learning more about Maria. She’s a fun protagonist. I feel like I can relate to her and I enjoy the chemistry that she has with Frankie.
I am absolutely planning to continue on with this series. I hope there are a lot more future installments. They’re fun, light reads, that can help you forget about life for a while. Finally, two thumbs up for the audiobook format.
Thank so to the publisher, Storm Publishing and Dreamscape Select, for providing me with copies to read and review. I am looking forward to more Maria Miller!