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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dirty or Die by Sommer Marsden

Dirty or Die by Sommer Marsden
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (124 pages)
Other: M/F, M/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Trapped in a haunted house…three blind ghosts, three blind ghosts, see how they hunt… Ghosts are average when you’re a reporter for The Skeptic. But these ghosts are energy vampires. They like fierce emotions—so sex, violence and lust are high on their menu demands. Paranormal reporters Darla and Mason find out that their pent-up, squashed-down lust for each other might just be what keeps them safe in Pike House.

The game of survival starts off with a bang—literally—and keeps escalating at a frenzied pace. If they ever get out of Pike House alive, Darla’s thinking she might just give her huge, handsome partner a shot. After all, she’s lived through much weirder things than love.

Skepticism dies quickly when ghost hunters, Mason and Darla, personally encounter the three blind ghosts of Pike House. These are not your run of the mill “rattle some chains” “bang a few doors” type ghosts. These boys are energy junkies that feed off of high emotions such as lust…or violence. They haunt Pike House after a failed attempt to rape the resident farmer’s wife ended their rotten lives. There is a lot more to that story but I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice it to say Mrs. MacGruder has some series ax handling skills.

In Dirty or Die, Darla is a writer for a paranormal investigation magazine, The Skeptic. She’s an independent little spitfire who has a personal rule about dating co-workers. After meeting and getting to know her partner, Mason, I don’t know how she’s managed to hold to the no-dating principal for so long. Mason is such a doll! He is so genuinely into Darla. You can hear it in the way he talks to her and in the little ways he always seems to be touching her. A hand on the small of her back, rubbing her neck or her leg when she’s agitated or upset and then there’s the way he protects her against the ghosts! *Sigh*

The secondary characters -- Mr. Jones the caretaker and Butch his helper -- are terrific as well. I think sometimes authors throw in secondary characters to take up space but then they have no real bearing on the story. This is not the case in Dirty or Die. First off, both men provide the history of Pike House and the MacGruders who lived there. They also give insight as to why the ghosts may be hanging around and seem to be gaining strength. Lastly, Mr. Jones and Butch have an interesting “it is but it isn’t” relationship. If you aren’t totally opposed to some minor M/M elements I think you’ll find them entertaining.

Ms. Marsden recently became one of my new favorite authors and with good reason. Her stories are always fun, unique and own me from page one. Also, her dialogue is always so funny. I know when I pick up one of her books I’m going to be seriously entertained. I couldn’t help but smile at the familiar cultural T.V. references in this short story. I have yet to read anything by Ms. Marsden that I haven’t loved so it’s very easy for me to recommend Dirty or Die.

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