The Unholy by Heather Graham
I wouldn’t call myself a film noir buff, or even a fan, for that matter. But I am a big fan of the decades right before, during, and right after World War II. Therefore, I tend to favor books with some sort of tie to that time period. When I saw Heather Graham’s The Unholy played on that decade, even though its main connection was the film noir from that time period, I knew I had to read it.
Alistair Archer, son of movie special effects mogul Eddie Archer, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Jenny, while they are walking the tunnel between his father’s special effects studio and the adjoining film noir movie theater. During their trip, a man comes out from one of the film noir movie replica sets and slits Jenny’s throat. Since no one else was in the room, Alistair naturally becomes the main suspect.
Enter Sean Cameron, previous employee of Eddie who is now a member of a special FBI task force who deals in the unusual, with Sean having his own unusual ability—he can talk to ghosts. Eddie knows the perfect person to help Sean out: his employee Madison Darvil, who also happens to talk to ghosts. Can Sean, Madison, and his team use their abilities to track down the real killer and free and innocent man?
When I pick up a romantic thriller, I know what to expect—great chemistry between the male and female leads; a complex mystery to solve; a heart-pounding climax; and a tidy resolution. The Unholy has all of those things, which is not a bad thing at all. Sean and Madison practically have sparks flying off the pages from the second they meet. Graham kept me guessing as to who the real killer was the entire time (though it became obvious fairly quickly who the accomplice was), and I was happy with the way the novel got to the end.
There are a few things that make the novel stand out in the genre. For instance, since both Sean and Madison can speak to ghosts, there’s an added supernatural element. Especially unique in The Unholy is that Madison is “haunted” by the ghost of Humphrey “Bogie” Bogart, who plays a pretty big role during some key moments.
I didn’t know The Unholy was part of the spin-off of the Krewe of Hunters series until I started doing a bit more research to write this review after I finished reading the book. I wasn’t lost at all during the novel, and I don’t feel like I missed anything by coming in during the middle, so there’s no need to worry about reading the other books first. Unless, of course, you want to read the other ones simply because you enjoyed this one so much. In which case, I’m right there with you.
Fans of Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series will want to read this, as will fans of any of her series. Since it’s a mass market original, it’s the perfect book for vacationers to pack in their bag and take with them on trips, whether they’ve read Graham previously or not. I would definitely add The Unholy to your shelves.
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