Writing a great mystery, capturing the soul of true romance, and driving the imagination beyond the world we understand are all tough tasks that certain authors face, but managing to combine all three in the same unforgettable novel is a rare feat. In Girl Unseen, the third installation of the Beyond the Grave series by Athena Daniels, readers are pulled into a paranormal tale of mystery and danger, peppered with plenty of heart-pumping romance and action.
Pia Williams is a key part of the first two novels in this series, but here she takes center stage with her unusual gifts – namely being a powerful medium and psychic who is capable of communing with the dead. With a legitimate place as an investigator, she and her talents have unprecedented access to crime scenes, but that also means that the spirits haunting those sites have access to her. The tortured spirit of a young girl, Sarah, reaches out to Pia after being brutally murdered, but despite the horrific nature of her death (and life), Sarah is not the innocent spirit she seems to be.
Something about this young girl allows her to reach beyond the grave, not only to communicate, but also to kill. After one of her vengeful murders lands Pia squarely in the crosshairs of a murder investigation, the medium must turn to her passionate old flame for guidance – and protection. Once Nate Ryder enters the story, the tone of the writing shifts noticeably, and while the interweaving of paranormal mystery, thriller, and erotic fiction works well in the book, the urgency of the core plot is often blurred by personal situations and drama.
As Pia investigates the girl’s murder, trying her best to bring those responsible to justice, she doesn’t consider those who might want to keep the truth buried, and ends up putting herself in even more danger. The tag-team of Nate Ryder and Pia Williams makes for exciting and edgy writing, while the tangled plot wraps up into a satisfying knot by the end of the book.
Athena Daniels has some impressive skills as a writer, capable of capturing a sense of the mystical or paranormal, while also couching the bizarre events and characters within real life. This helps readers bridge their disbelief, as the topic of communing with the dead is not discussed as hocus-pocus, but measurable fact. Even the premise of the paranormal investigation team lends credibility to the remainder of the story, making it easy to fall into this fascinating world. The writing itself is clean and sharp, and while the more sinister plot is occasionally obscured by love interests and drawn-out scenes of flirtation, the dialogue is spot-on and contemporary.
By creating a new niche in the genre of the paranormal, Daniels accomplishes something truly special in this new installment of the series. With every turn of the page, it is uncertain whether it will reveal a twist in the plot, a humorous interaction, or a philosophical musing by one of the characters. This wide range of content and style makes Girl Unseen dynamic and difficult to put down, as is the case with earlier offerings in the series.
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