I’ll conclude this miniseries of minireviews with one of my favourite authors of urban fantasy/supernatural fiction, JP McLean.
I’ve been following her for years. I reviewed all of her books and it’s never been a difficult task: you only need to have a lots of compliments and that’s it. She is that good.
I devoured Ghost Mark a couple of months ago. Like her other novels, it was a nail-biting and addictive read, with a clever plot, finely built tension, and a heart-pounding finale. In short, this novel has everything a suspense novel should have.
The characters are thoughtfully shaped. Some are strong and tough, but brave enough to show their vulnerability. Some are seemingly mean and we don’t like them, just for them to prove us wrong at the end. Some are clever and some not so much, but their their actions and reactions are always logical and justified.
Although JP Mclean’s books have supernatural elements, her narrative is original, credible, and convincing. I always said that I wouldn’t be overly surprised to meet some of her characters in person. To make the supernatural believable is one of the greatest strengths and secrets of JP McLean’s writing.
I like the chemistry between the two protagonists, Jane and Ethan. They are both complex personalities, coming with their own sets of hurts, aches, and traumas. However, they’re fighters, they’re resilient, and they have a strong moral compass. The supporting roles are also well chosen. The most pleasant surprise was Sadie, Jane’s friend. I loved how she matured and changed from the previous book.
Being from the same series, Dark Dreams, Ghost Mark is tightly connected to its predecessor, Blood Mark. I read Blood Mark more than a year ago, and some plot details had faded from my memory. That gap didn’t ruin my experience with Ghost Mark–JP McLean is able to remind her readers of the key facts of her previous novel in a sensible, natural way. The type of ending she’s chosen for her novel is among my favourites. This story has its firm conclusion, but there is a small, delicious crack through which you can see that more is coming. Wonderful!
The Ghost Mark reviewers covered many other aspects of this sophisticated thriller with nice layers of romance and humor, so I won’t touch them in much detail. Just a few things to mention. The setting is awesome. It feels authentic: it’s ragged, it’s rough, and it’s gritty. The narrative has its rhythm and logic, and the balance of exposition, description, and dialogue is perfect. No extra words and no unnecessary idling. It’s a tightly written, exciting, and memorable novel.
Five starts from me, JP! Merry Christmas!