Review: Ghost by J.M. Dabney (Executioners #1)


Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Ghost is both my first J.M. Dabney read and the first book in her new Executioners series, which is a spin-off of the Brawlers series, which was a spin-off of the original Twirled World Ink series. After having read this series starter, I feel the need to smack myself silly for not having read anything else Dabney has written prior to this latest release of hers. From the blurb alone, I had a feeling this story was going to be a heavy read, and indeed, it was, but the angst wasn't the kind thrown in to merely evoke some strong emotion or the like. There was an honest-to-goodness story, some of it heartrendingly painful to read but read I did, that delved into the darkness that was surrounding the female lead and how her journey found her crossing paths with a man who would turn out to be her tattooed recluse of a Prince Charming. Add one remarkable peripheral characters and puppies and voila! Win!

Gideon Jane, who I think is forty based on his being in a twenty-year long relationship with a guy since he was eighteen and having lived in Powers, Georgia on his own after that breakup for two years, is a recluse of sorts, preferring to be on his own or having the company of those closest to him. He's happy with his organic farm and to be part of a band called Executioners. The one thing that appears to be missing is someone to share his life with. That's where twenty-nine-year-old Harper Sage comes in, but while Gideon earned his nickname of Ghost because of his solitary lifestyle, Harper's isolation isn't the kind that's easily seen. She may have more interactions with people in town, but that doesn't mean that she wouldn't rather hide, just like she tries to hide her scars. She tries to outrun those ghosts of her past that still haunt and taunt, but what she can't outrun is her own personal Ghost.

Goodness but how this story kept me glued to my tablet for the hour and a half it took me to start and finish it! J.M. Dabney can write and she writes well, and I'm saying this based on the singular book that I've had the pleasure of reading. My heart broke for Gideon but more so for Harper. Gideon simply wanted to be with someone he loved and who loved him back wholly, but for someone who's experienced betrayal, especially after being with that person for two decades? Well, maybe trusting and loving aren't as simple as they may sound. And then there's Harper who is broken in more ways than one. Her back story is dark and she's attempted suicide before. She knows all about pain, and the way she's chosen to deal with it had me grateful she began to realize how strong of a support system she had around her. These two were lost in their own ways, but they found their way to each other.

There are quite a few notable supporting characters in the story, but there was one that stood out--Jackson Webb, aka Joker (and yes, I found out what his last name was through some good ol' digging on Goodreads). He doesn't necessarily steal the spotlight from either Gideon or Harper, but it's clear that he's important to both Harper and Gideon, and he comes off as a good guy who would go above and beyond for those he cares about most. He also seems to have a story waiting to be told, especially after what happened to him here, so thank goodness his book is up next. And remember how I mentioned puppies? Hello?! How the heck could I resist that double addition? They don't speak but they do play a pivotal role (well, at least I saw it as pivotal) in bringing Gideon and Harper closer, and giving Harper joy. Ghost made its five-starred mark on me, and it's put author J.M. Dabney on my radar. ♥

Date Read: 14 August 2017

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