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Available 4.15.24


Ghost Island

Ghost Island, March 2024
Ghosts of the Past #4
by Max Seeck

Berkley
384 pages
ISBN: 0593438868
EAN: 9780593438862
Kindle: B0C6HKF24F
Trade Paperback / e-Book
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"Is a ghostly legend killing people?"

Fresh Fiction Review

Ghost Island
Max Seeck

Reviewed by Debbie Wiley
Posted February 24, 2024

Horror | Mystery | Thriller Crime

Violent Crimes Detective Jessica Niemi is trying to pull her life back together after a series of difficult cases and the loss of a friend who had been a mainstay in her life. Unfortunately, she snaps and has a violent altercation that is caught on video. The Superintendent of the Helsinki Police Violent Crimes Unit, Helena Lappi, has no choice but to put Jessica on official leave until the news media settles down, especially considering what she knows of Jessica’s mental health struggles. Jessica retreats to a small remote island where the residents have minimal contact with the rest of the world. However, crime finds Jessica even in the remotest of places as she soon learns of the ghostly legend of the girl in the blue coat when three elderly survivors of that long-ago orphanage come to visit the island. Is Maija still haunting the island? Who is behind the deaths connected to that long-ago orphanage?

GHOST ISLAND is the fourth book in the Ghosts of the Past series. The mystery itself stands on its own merits. However, the nuances of the relationships between Jessica and her team back home, as well as her own tortured past and struggles with mental health issues, will be best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole. Some scenes may seem off-kilter to new readers without that history.

I love how all of Max Seeck’s books have a bit of the mystical to them and GHOST ISLAND is no exception. The appearances of Maija and her tragic story are, as Ake says in the book, exciting when told by firelight, as I can easily envision most of this story being told by campfire late at night. Jessica's struggle with differentiating between reality and nonreality heightens the spooky atmosphere, as does the setting itself.

Jessica is an intriguing character, both heroic and deeply flawed at the same time. Her mental health struggles with schizophrenia leave her questioning her own perception of things at times, and it’s fascinating to see her solve complex cases through her unusual views and methods. Jessica’s stability is in question in GHOST ISLAND and I love how Max Seeck unveils new layers and dimensions of what is in store for Jessica in the future.

GHOST ISLAND is a hauntingly good detective story! Max Seeck once again delivers an unusual take on the police procedural that will appeal to fans who like their stories to be both suspenseful and eerie. Highly recommended!

Learn more about Ghost Island

SUMMARY

On a secluded island, homicide detective Jessica Niemi must investigate a drowning that is tied to a frightening ghostly legend in this riveting new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of THE WITCH HUNTER.

Jessica Niemi is put on leave after a violent altercation between her and a belligerent man makes headlines. To escape the unwanted scrutiny, Jessica travels to a remote island in the Åland archipelago and rents a room at a small seaside inn. She is hoping to be left alone as she faces the possibility that she is losing what is left of her sanity but three elderly visitors have arrived at the inn for their yearly sojourn. Jessica learns that they are the remaining ‘birds of spring’, former refugees who fled Finland as children during World War II and lived together for a few months in an orphanage on the island.

The orphanage no longer exists but the local legend about one of its inhabitants, a girl named Maija, still haunts the surviving orphans. Every evening Maija would put on her blue coat and stand on the pier, looking out at the dark water until one night, she disappeared and was never seen again. When one of the ‘birds of spring’ is found dead, drowned alongside the same pier, and Jessica learns about two other deaths from the past, also connected to the orphanage, she has no choice but to try and put the pieces of this terrifying mystery together.

Jessica can’t be sure whether she’s facing a killer or—just like the legend says—the ghost of Maija, the girl in the blue coat. Uncertain what is real and what is not, Jessica desperately searches for answers that she hopes will stop the murders and finally silence her own demons once and for all…

 

 


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