Loose Ends (A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery) by Terri Reid

Former Chicago cop Mary O’Reilly can see ghosts ever since she died.  She was sent back to life with a mission to help the troubled dead.  Now a private investigator in Freeport, Illinois, Mary takes a case from a senator’s wife who wants to know why a young woman’s ghost is haunting her and her husband.  But when Mary stumbles on the ghosts of several little girls during the course of her investigation, she may be in danger of dying again.

Terri Reid’s first book in her Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery series gets off to a bumpy start with some chunks of clumsy exposition.  An early scene in which Mary tells her new employer her entire backstory over the course of two pages feels like it was cut-and-pasted directly from the author’s notes.  In contrast, the use of Lt. Belvidere’s headless ghost to introduce the use of Mary’s powers was a great example of “show, don’t tell”.  It also served as a fun and heart-warming side plot.

The book gets better as the plot picks up speed.  There are true moments of drama and suspense which will keep you turning pages at an alarming rate (I read the entire book in a day- impressive with two young kids).  Reid does an excellent job of balancing serious subject matter with a lighthearted tone.  She keeps the story fun without feeling as if she’s trivializing her characters’ tragedies.

The main character’s apparent love interest, Police Chief Bradley Alden, has a mysterious backstory that I hope will be explored in further books.  The supporting characters of Mary’s office-neighbors, Stanley and Rosie, deserve an honorable mention as well.  They provide much of the books comic relief and really, they’re just plain sweet.  I found the villain two-dimensional and predictable, though; it seemed like he’d been sent over from central casting.

I really enjoyed the book as a whole.  I confess I’ve already started the next book in the series, which jumped my reading queue completely.  I really care about the characters and I want to see what happens to them next.  I’m sure more reviews from this series will be forthcoming- watch this space!

Title:  Loose Ends

Author:  Terri Reid

Genre:  Supernatural/Mystery

Publication:  2010, Terri Reid

Price:  $0.99, e-book (all formats)

Author’s Website:  http://www.goodreads.com/terrireid

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/22435

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