Gone With the Ghost (Murder By Design, book 1)
by Erin McCarthy
Date of Publication: May 23, 2017
Bailey Burke has had a rough six months—it’s not easy thinking your romantic overtures toward your best friend caused him to kill himself. Except that’s exactly what happened. Ryan is very much dead, having shot himself with his own police-issued gun. Guilt and grief shouldn’t cause hallucinations though, but six months after Ryan went into the ground, Bailey is freaking out and swearing his ghost is standing in her kitchen. Which he is…
Ryan claims he didn’t commit suicide, but was murdered, and he needs Bailey to help him find his killer so he can earn his ticket out of purgatory. Which contrary to national opinion is not their hometown of Cleveland. Ryan’s counting on a stairway to heaven, as opposed to wings, since that might be a little unmanly for a cop, even a dead one.
An expert in home design, with her own staging business, Bailey can tell you where to place a couch to improve flow and comfort, but solving a crime? Not her area of expertise. But with help from Ryan’s former partner, Marner, she is unraveling the mystery of what happened to Ryan that day… and unwittingly putting herself in grave danger.
Whitney’s 3.5 Star Review
Gone with the Ghost is a mystery novel from an author I’ve previously enjoyed reading romance from. I wanted something a little different than my standard romantic genre and hoped to find a new series to look forward to.
Overall, I was pleased with this book. It’s definitely not traditional romance but does have some romantic elements to it. The main two characters are Bailey, a slightly down on her luck former crime scene analysis turned home stager/designer. She doesn’t like blood after all!
Bailey is hung up on her best friend, Ryan, who died six months ago. So when Ryan appears in Bailey’s house she is quite overwhelmed. Ryan doesn’t know exactly what’s going on but he does know that his death was mysterious and he can’t cross over until he has helped find out who killed him.
So now for the good and the bad. Bailey is pretty awesome. She’s very ‘real’. Flawed, a little awkward, smart… I really enjoyed her character. Ryan not so much. I know he’s a ghost but he’s kind of an ass. I can’t give too much away or it will ruin the story but he’s definitely no romantic hero so I’m kinda glad he’s dead. I was disappointed in the direction his character took and that Bailey’s feelings towards him were never really acknowledged. I felt like there a hole in the story there but I can’t reveal too much or it would be spoilery!
There is a love interest for Bailey who we get glimpses of and I assume that we will get to see their relationship over the course of the series. Like I said, this book has romantic elements but it is not a love story so don’t expect a conclusion as it’s not the focus of the story.
The premise surrounding Ryan’s death and subsequent ‘who done it?’, I also enjoyed. I felt kind of like I was watching a crime drama on TV. The feel of the novel is a balance between light hearted and serious. It’s not particularly gory but there are some pretty tense moments, some sad moments and some funny ones too.
I went into the novel with no real expectations and I will probably pick up the next book in the series as well when it comes out. And don’t expect a perfect ending tied with a bow. There are some questions that get answered and many new ones to explore in book two with a new mystery to solve
About Erin McCarthy
USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy first published in 2002 and has since written over seventy novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult romance, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Erin is a RITA finalist and an ALA Reluctant Young Reader award recipient, and is both traditionally and indie published.