Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Ghost Agents (Ghost Agents Trilogy, #1) by Nita DeBorde

Ghost AgentsGhost Agents by Nita DeBorde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fantastic paranormal-cozy mystery you’ll be tempted to read from start to finish in one sitting!

The Bureau for Historical Preservation is a secret organization that has operated in the shadows for centuries. Its mission is to keep tabs on the energized “projections” or ghosts, assisting them to cross over to the other side when they’re ready and keeping them safely in line until they do. However, not all ghosts deal with the Bureau. These rogues exist on their own terms outside the protection the Bureau offers.

By day, Claire Abelard works in a candy store and at night she’s a tour guide to the haunted places Galveston, Texas, is known for, both covers for her real work as a Bureau field agent. When she hears rumors from the ghostly community that rogues have been disappearing and the projections are afraid something terrible is happening to them, she tries to get the Bureau involved. But since the missing entities are rogues, Bureau leadership disregards her concerns. Against orders to leave it alone, she decides to investigate on her own not realizing that her entire world is about to be turned upside down.

Ghost Agents, the first book in the Ghost Agents Trilogy, was a fantastic story from start to finish. I loved everything about this book: the premise, the plot, the characters, and the (close-to-home-for-me) setting of Galveston, Texas.

The main character, Claire Abelard, is a determined young woman, dedicated to her job with The Bureau for Historical Preservation, to preserve and promote historically significant locations to keep their stories and local history alive, AND to monitor and assist the ghosts (known as “projections”) stay safe and on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, such commitment doesn’t come without sacrifices; as a bureau agent, Claire is posted to cities wherever her Level 5 skills are needed most, which keeps her separated from her family in Boston most of the time. Her job doesn’t leave Claire with much time or energy for a social life, either. Not only does she maintain a day job in a candy store as a cover for her bureau activities, but she also has a night job leading ghost tours of some of Galveston’s leading haunted places. Then, after the evening tours are over, she may have to conduct additional bureau business. But she is consistent in her goal to preserve, promote, and protect the ghostly projections in her jurisdiction and those outside it that have gone “rogue.” She’s smart, independent, witty, and an all-around fun character.

Other fun characters include the projections, including Claire’s three “roommates:” Sarah Meriwether, the motherly former owner of their shared home, April Parish, the tragic victim of spousal abuse, and Thelma Gates, a party girl from the 1920s. The author incorporates actual historical figures whose spirits are thought to haunt real venues located in Galveston (one of the most haunted cities in the U.S.) among Claire’s contacts. Some of Galveston’s long history is woven into the storyline as well.

Along with the city’s exciting history, the author does a fabulous job creating the secret world of “The Bureau” and the story and nature of the projections. The background exposition is cleverly delivered in both dialogue and excerpts from the Bureau’s history textbook that its agents-in-training are issued and expected to know.

With its fresh plot, burgeoning romance and sibling estrangement subplots, superb setting, and wonderful characters, Ghost Agents is a great cozy mystery that is sure to grab a reader’s attention and take it on an action-filled adventure. I highly recommend this book to any cozy mystery reader who enjoys a paranormal storyline.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.

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