Jory Strong makes her move to mainstream print with “Ghostland” published by Berkley Sensation. I’m a fan and reader of three of her erotica series published by Ellora’s Cave so was pleased and interested to see how her voice would translate to more conventional print. “Ghostland” is set in a futuristic paranormal world where money and religion rule in an uneasy and unholy partnership and those with special abilities are marginalized and used by both.
Aisling made the only choice she could. She came out of hiding to save the rest of her ‘family’ and let herself be taken by a priest into the city of Oakland. She’s a shamaness and although she knows she’s just being used, there’s really nothing she can do to prevent it. All she can do is try to stay alive until she learns more about the strange society she’s fallen into. With her ‘pet’ ferret as her only companion, although he’s much more than a pet, she enters the ghostlands to locate the missing mistress of a powerful man. The only way to save the woman was to use the name given to her by her ferret, Zurael. Now she’s caught up in a deadly game she doesn’t understand with a demon she craves.
Zurael is a Prince of the Djinn. When he’s summoned by Aisling he’s furious. But now he’s on a mission. Recover an ancient lost tablet using Aisling as bait…and kill her when he’s done. But it won’t take more than a day for Zurael to realize Aisling is just as innocent as he, and much easier to kill.
Not a book for a quick, easy read. There are layers upon layers in Strong’s “Ghostland”. The world is complex and the different societies are well-delineated but do take a bit of thought to keep straight at first. The heat index is just what I would expect from someone with Strong’s background in erotica–smoking. But it was a bit harder for me to warm up to both the hero and heroine of this first book in what is intended to be a series set in the same world. Once again, the initial book of a series takes a bit of a hit due to the necessity of the author to introduce the reader to a whole new universe. And I did wish for a few more pages to enjoy the happy ending. But here’s hoping I get a bit more of these two, who I learned to enjoy over the course of the book, in the next release.
And you know what? Looking back, I enjoyed this read. I want to read more. Now I find myself impatient for the release of “Spider-Touched”, book two, in August 2009. I want to know more about the ‘history’ of angels who seem more like demons here, and the church who definitely don’t come off as looking out for their fellow man. So if reading a book where angels and organized religion aren’t the ‘good guys’ will make you mad? Pass this series by. Me? I’m hungry for more.