Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Valley of Shadows

Title: Valley of Shadows
Author: Phoenix Emrys
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-61581-546-3
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Historical author Ellery James is as successful as he is reclusive, shunning the spotlight unless absolutely necessary whenever he releases a new book. He’d much rather stay in his small hometown than take the chance of the media discovering his tightly held secret. It’s not just an ordinary secret, but a ghostly one that some people would consider crazy and by which he uses as the backbone for his popular novels.

His orderly life takes an unforeseen turn with the arrival in town of the handsome, but armed and dangerous, Boone Dantrell. Ellery can’t deny his instant attraction to this mysterious stranger, but Boone has his own serious problems and a depression that he can’t shake. As they grow closer, so does the danger dogging their every move and it’s not long before it become obvious that more than just chemistry is pulling them together. Even so, it’s a surprise to both Ellery and Boone when they’re suddenly center stage in an eons-old battle that if lost, could cost them not just their lives but their very souls.

Valley of Shadows is the first book by author Phoenix Emrys that I’ve read. It starts off nicely with some bantering conversation between Ellery and his editor. It gives the reader a good feel for his personality and how little he enjoys the trappings that go along with being a successful writer. He’s witty, sarcastic, a bit self-absorbed and uses a dingbat personality in front of the media. Ellery is a unique and interesting individual dealing with a strange ghost whisperer type of gift.

The story basically goes on about how he deals with this special aspect of his life while trying to appear as normal as possible to everyone else in his hometown and the world in general. That nearly goes out the window with the arrival of Boone and his little tag-along (no spoiler here). These two guys have an instant attraction that Ellery can’t really explain but would like to explore, even if Boone does scare the dickens out of him initially. Since the story is told in first person-from Ellery’s point of view-I had a good feeling for what made him tick but I can’t say the same for Boone. He was more of a mystery, even by the end of the story.

Ellery and Boone work well together as a couple, both in and out of bed, and they develop a deep emotional connection almost immediately—it’s abrupt, but believable. My problem with the plot started probably 2/3 of the way through when the already heavily laden paranormal storyline took a wild turn into multiple past lives, goddesses and other things too numerous to mention. This includes a bad guy that just suddenly appears out of nowhere. I liked the first 2/3’s, so be aware that with so much new stuff going on in the last section, you might have a feeling of confusion in the end.

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