Have you ever picked up a book while shopping and forgot that you bought it? This was kind of the case with this short novel The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens. I was going through my Kindle and looking for something to read when I was like, Oh, I remember the cover but I don't remember getting it. I made an impulse purchase one day I'm sure while stocking up on cheap and free titles and ended up with it. The novel itself is billed as a prequel to The Graveyard Queen Series, and who doesn't love a good story or series about graveyards? Not me, so I know that was what hooked me in to snagging this title.
I'll admit to one of my first eReader compulsions being going into the file and choosing the cover as a location (again I am a cover art lover and love to see one across the screen). Well from the cover I always "flip" through to the beginning, and as I did I saw a little something else I missed, a great big Harlequin Romance logo and publishing information. Now okay, I'll admit that dime romance stories and such fluff aren't my forte, but I have read a couple here and there in the past, so I decided to give The Abandoned a chance.
The story is about a university student and mental hospital volunteer Ree Hutchins, who also happens to be the daughter of a Private Eye (yeah I know she was going to be a Cowgirl-Astronaut-Robot-Veterinarian-CEO of a big company and a Super Model when she grew up), who becomes involved in some intrigue following the death of her favorite patient at the private mental hospital. The ghost of the deceased woman leads her to the graveyard where she meets Hayden Priest a young attorney set to take the bar and amateur ghost hunter (no I'm not making that up). With Hayden's help she begins to investigate the ominous Coffin And Claw Society, and has a talk with her former school-mate, the titular Graveyard Queen herself, Amelia Gray.
"I'm a ghost hunter, you've got a ghost. Match made in heaven. Or hell, depending."
For what it is I have to say that The Abandoned is not a bad little story. In fact, remembering that it is from Harlequin and who their target audience actually is, I have to give it Four Stars. Yes, I know some hardcore horror readers will find it lame, and even though much of the investigation and character thought processes is pretty Nancy Drew it doesn't stop The Abandoned from having its moments. Stevens give us as hot and steamy little sex scene near the end that is definitely more than enough to get the juices going. The story also has a step-brother/step-sister incest scene followed by a cemetery gang bang that (although not too explicit) is definitely not your standard Harlequin fare. There are plenty of red herrings and some Scooby-Doo moments, but the above mentioned plot elements keep this out of the range of standard juvenile fiction. Perhaps what the story suffers from most it that fact that Ree is pretty much a one-dimensional character who comes off as a weak female who thinks like a jealous 15 year old when she really needs to be stronger and more dynamic, especially when most of her supporting characters are more well rounded.
If you don't particularly care for the dime romance genre you would want to avoid this book. For my part I again say it was not all that bad, but there is also not enough to interest me in checking out the rest of The Graveyard Queen Series.
Here is where you can get you copy of The Abandoned for eReader or download:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-abandoned-amanda-stevens/1030477177
Reader Store: http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/amanda-stevens/the-abandoned/_/R-400000000000000353484