Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Review: "A Haunting Desire" (Julie Mulhern)

New Orleans, 1902, and someone is eviscerating men in the streets and leaving their bloodied bodies behind for investigators like Zeke Barnes to find and solve. Zeke's getting more than a little tired of all the bodies in his life, even if he is an occult specialist in the law enforcement field. So far, his sources tell him that the one person in the city who can help him is the one person who wants nothing to do with him.

Trula Boudreaux is a renowned madam, known for her higher class establishment than many others in the city, and for the care and fairness with which she treats her girls. She doesn't want to have anything to do with a man who's planning to walk out of her life again and leave her behind, and Zeke Barnes has that intention written all over him.

But the body count rises higher, and the ghosts in the city become more and more distressed, and before long, Trula can ignore neither her attraction to Zeke, nor the danger that even she may face.

Entangled Publishing's Select Historical imprint presents the romantic supernatural historical novel A Haunting Desire by Julie Mulhern.

Any novel that opens in a cemetery immediately has my attention, and this one was no exception. Rich with New Orleans culture, from voodoo and gris-gris to ghosts and crushed oyster shell paths, the work is obviously well-researched, and each of the carefully incorporated historical details only heightens the authenticity of the setting and characters, and the tension in the work as a whole.

Speaking of characters, these, collectively, constitute a cast you won't want to miss. Trula is the most unexpected of them all, given the stereotypes surrounding the madams of ordinary brothels. Instead of being harsh, abusive, vengeful, or greedy, Trula is kind, compassionate, patient, and willing to go more than the extra mile to keep her girls safe and her clientele happy. Such an unusual character is already one worthy of admiration.

Zeke seems almost too contemporary a hero for the historical novel, to have existed more than a hundred years ago, and yet his edgy cynicism combined with his selfless service and devotion to the cause of justice (and the judicious application of mercy, on his own terms) make him an equally likable and realistic character.

Picture the heat level between Zeke and Trula as somewhere between smolder and open flame ... not quite hot enough to be called erotic romance, but certainly a palpable and very present attraction that culminates (more than once) in a hotly satisfying scene that will please romance readers, in particular.

Nonetheless, the work is, overall, one of historical suspense, and the unexpected plot twists juxtaposed against the stunning, almost-too-real-to-be-believed setting of a decades-old New Orleans makes for a truly enjoyable read.

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Author: Julie Mulhern
Title: A Haunting Desire
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Select Historical)
ISBN: 978-1-63375-384-6
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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