Hypothesis Productions (2022)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (09/2022)
“Ghostly Howls” is a fascinating paranormal murder mystery fantasy by Stephanie Hansen. In the fictional town of Ethel, a port city with secrets, two women who, besides being best friends, also share another commonality amongst themselves but separate from the rest of the town. Orla has the gift that pairs as a curse of possessing people’s souls with a single touch. Molly is half banshee with the ability of knowing when someone has or will die, through an auditory ringing in her ears. Both girls have had their abilities for as long as they can remember and have learned to adapt as needed.
Both girls find themselves infatuated with their respective mates, working on juggling their relationships alongside their gifts. Orla and Dave have been friends since forever, but have never felt each other’s skin in the way that they both secretly desire. Molly and Cormac have a relationship that could look confusing and complicated to the outside, and is continuing to be worked on. Besides the fact that there are two girls in working relationships, both with paranormal abilities, now there has been a murder with direct links to historical happens that could likely be the result of ghosts with a hidden agenda.
“Ghostly Howls” is best suited for a mature audience. The storyline is written well in that it holds the reader captivated throughout the story, yet some of the material included is comparatively graphic with the descriptions of the sex scenes. The language overall is neutral, with occasional profanity, along with talk of people dying in torturous ways. The storyline was enjoyable, yet there was more than one spot when a character or situation was introduced and I felt like I was missing something that should have either been mentioned previously in the text.
Overall, the author did well to explain the characters and situations, just at a different point than I would have thought. The intense sex scene is between two girls, and two boys are engaged to be married, so depending on your beliefs, proceed or not. The story is short in length but the author packs a lot into these pages.
If you enjoy a story with supernatural or paranormal activity, a solid mystery, LGBTQ characters, and self-discovery, check out “Ghostly Howls” coming out soon!
Additional comments from the editor, Sheri Hoyte:
“Ghostly Howls” piqued my interest when it was submitted for review, and then again upon reading Rachel’s review, so I just had to give it a look myself! I found the storyline distinctive and enticing, the alternating points of view between Orla and Molly keeping readers on their toes and adding layers of drama to the whirlwind of events. There is a lot of story packed into this novella-size narration, though I would like to have seen a bit more of the backstory behind all of the characters. They are quirky and fun and I want to get to know them better—maybe a sequel or a series is in the works?
One thing that stands out to me is Molly’s superpower, which stems from the author’s real-life challenges with Tinnitus. I love that she pushed a personal health issue beyond its limitations and turned it into a superpower. It’s a beautiful way to support disabilities and promote respect and acceptance. While we’re talking about inclusivity, Hansen packs this story with not one but two LGBTQ couples and I just have to say bravo for adding to the growing representation of the genre. And the steamy sex scene between Molly and Cormac – phew! Well done.
Overall, if you want a fast-paced, easy read that is chock full of entertainment, “Ghostly Howls” is one book to add to your reading list.