Book Review – Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper Trilogy by JL Bryan

This collection first published, 2017

Book 1: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper

First published, 2014

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

When Ellie Jordan is called to the Treadwell house, what might have been an ordinary haunting (new family, old house) takes a bone-chilling turn. Mercy Cutledge, murderess and lifelong lunatic has been walking the halls in the night, scaring the Treadwell’s little girl and making a nuisance of herself. So, when Ellie, and paranormal newbie, Stacey, appear with gadgetry aplenty, ready to trap the ghost of Mercy, only Dale Treadwell thinks it’s a waste of time, that children see things and old houses make noises. He certainly doesn’t want to deal with the bill at the end of it all. But no sooner have Ellie and Stacey got a handle on the ghost they’re looking for, they discover that there are more things in heaven and earth, and most of them are in the Treadwell household.

Absolutely compulsive reading. I’m not much for paranormal stories, but I couldn’t leave this one alone. Set in Savannah, Georgia, the honeyed dialect slipped off the page and into my heart. Lots of wry observations and humour in the writing. I especially liked this part:

“‘Are you going to be able to take care of this or not?’ Dale stomped down the stairs, buttoning his shirt over his pale, hairy stomach. He could have started buttoning a little earlier, if you ask me.”
16% in, Chapter Thirteen, Book One, Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper Trilogy by JL Bryan

I loved this story, and am so pleased I plumped for the trilogy right from the off. Onwards!

Book 2: Cold Shadows – Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, Book Two

First published, 2014

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The adventure continues. Ellie and sidekick Stacey have been called upon to exorcise the ghosts from an old house, packed with heirlooms and old furniture, and a secret history. When Toolie, Gord and their children, Juniper and Crane, moved into the old house, kept in the family for a few years but not much lived in, they had no idea that it came with a full and troubled family of ghosts and a long dormant poltergeist. However, due to teenage thoughtlessness, the poltergeist has been unleashed, and the mad, bad and dangerous to know ghost of abusive husband and father, Isaiah Ridley, is filling the sewing room with dark energy, and scaring the ghostly daylights out of his formerly mischievous, now deathly dangerous sons, Luke and Noah. With wife and mother, Catherine, haunting the backyard and little Eliza probably hiding in a cupboard somewhere, it’s up to Ellie and the team to destroy the poltergeist, release Isaiah’s grip on the house, and save the families, both living and dead.

What a whirlwind. There was a little bit of a reminder of the previous story, nothing repetitive though, more of a ‘Previously, on Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper…’ – which I really liked. The story felt full but not overdone, and the writing remains strong. There were a couple of very difficult scenes involving Crane, the eight year old son, and young ghosts who encourage him to die so he won’t be a chicken, and they can play together forever, but the story was chilling and really well-told.

There was a brilliant scene where Ellie tried to get Noah and Luke, the boy ghosts, to listen to reason, with Stacey in back-up and Jacob, the psychic, interpreting for her:

“’Noah! Luke!’ I snapped, trying to sound as tough and firm as I could manage. I widened the iris of my flashlight and swept it back and forth, chasing away flickering shadows. ’Stay away from us!’
‘Wow, they hate you,’ Jacob told me. ’They look angry now. You can really see their dark and tormented side now.’
‘I’d rather not see that if we can avoid it,’ I said.
‘What about me?’ Stacey asked. ‘Do they hate me?’
‘They’ve barely noticed you’re here,’ Jacob assured her. ‘They aren’t paying any attention to you, don’t worry.’
‘Oh.’ She frowned a little, as if slightly disappointed.’”
55% in, Chapter Fifteen, Book Two, Cold Shadows by JL Bryan

Love it.

Book 3: The Crawling Darkness – Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, Book Three

First published, 2015

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“‘Even if you really feel afraid on the inside… act like you’re not afraid. That’s what courage really is, anyway.’ “
78% in, Chapter Ten, The Crawling Darkness by JL Bryan

In The Crawling Darkness, Ellie, Stacey and boss Calvin face the most powerful monster yet: their only real failure and the entity that put Calvin in a wheelchair some years ago. Whatever it is, surely more than ghost and less than demon, a fearfeeder, and it seems to have moved from its original location to a house close by.

The fear feeder takes the form of whatever frightens the observer and it uses that fear for sustenance. Over the course of the story, we meet widowed Alicia and her two young children, Michael, the handsome firefighter and his younger sister, Melissa, the unlikeable Fielding family and the elusive Mr Gray.

Another dramatic instalment in the saga, the writing remains tip-top, often humorous, and the story was complex and intricately plotted. I really enjoyed it.

The complete trilogy can be found here, and it’s free, for goodness’ sake:

There are fourteen books in the series, with the fifteenth planned for publication in 2022. My TBR list is enormous (really, it’s bigger than me) but I think I might have to work my way through the rest of the series before the new one comes out.