Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain, and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.
Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.
As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.
With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves?
The Rising is the second novel in the Badlands series, and Morgan Brice had me hooked on this paranormal series after that first story, Badlands. It was full of ghosts, mythology, murder, suspense, and a romance between two men fighting for justice and right, just in very different ways. One as a homicide detective and one as a psychic medium, That was the case where they met. And it was spectacular. A white knuckle ride all the way. In every way. And I was wondering how the author was going to top it.
The Rising is a great answer to that question. Well, with ghost ships and angry pirates of course!
Actually, it’s never that simple. There are far too many scary layers here to be reduced to that sentence, wonderfully so. Murders both historical and modern haunt these pages and this couple, horrifying the locals and their nightmares just as a hurricane potentially sets its sights on the town. Brice is able to bring all the paranormal and supernatural occurances vividly to life through great writing and action packed scenes. Hair-raising and bone chilling? Yes, those terms are apt.
But while there are murders to be solved and ghosts to be talked to or fled from,Vic and Simon, mostly Vic, are still working their way through the new relationship dynamics of being a couple and now living together. A great element here is Vic’s MBPD partner and their open communication, especially when it comes to their SOs. It’s been hard for Vic to realize that Simon has tools and weapons to deal with supernatural killers (the series) that he doesn’t possess. This is the story where both men make huge strides in acceptance in the dangers that each faces, will always face in what each does. The mature, communicative relationship is wonderful to see play out.
The author also introduces several new characters that I expect to see in future stories. I’m definitely intrigued by them and now need far more of their back stories, no matter the era.
Overall? This is just a marvelous book and series. The writing is outstanding, the characters nuanced, the plots packed with history, mythology, suspense ,action, hot sex, and love. And ghosts, murder, and terror! Really, what more could you want? I highly recommend them both and now eagerly await the next!
Cover art: Natania Barron. Catchy and the models work for both characters. But, where’s the water? Its Myrtle Beach. Or the old house in the marshes? Those are the main elements here. What’s with the mountains? That’s a fail.