Review: Happy Medium by Meg Benjamin

happy medium by meg benjaminPublisher: Penguin InterMix
Publish Date: January 21, 2014
How I got this book: eARC from the publisher through NetGalley

Ray Ramos has a problem— the King William District mansion he and his business partner purchased for a fast renovation needs more work than expected. Ray could use a quick infusion of cash. Enter Emma Shea, assistant to Gabrielle DeVere, the star of American Medium. Gabrielle is looking for San Antonio houses to use for her televised séances, and Ray’s fixer-upper seems to fit.

When Gabrielle does a sample séance for Ray, he witnesses something inexplicable and has an unsettling dream later that night. He then learns from his sister Rose about the Riordan family’s affinity for ghosts. But Emma also had a similar experience during the séance. The two decide to investigate the haunted house, even if it means taking on the vengeful succubus bound to it. It doesn’t hurt that Emma is immediately attracted to the laconic Ray or that Ray is intrigued by the buttoned-down beauty who seems determined to hide her considerable assets behind sober business suits.

*Blurb from Goodreads

I loved the first two books in the Ramos Family Trilogy (Medium Well, Medium Rare) so I’ve been looking forward to the third book for several months. I’ll confess that even though I knew there were going to be three, I couldn’t figure out what the title of the third one was going to be. After the first two I kept thinking “steak” and couldn’t figure out what version of “doneness” came next!

Ray Ramos does not start the story as a happy medium, or at a happy medium. Let’s just say that Ray isn’t happy. He also doesn’t know he’s a medium, so make that two for two. In fact, Ray doesn’t know that both his brother Danny (Medium Well) and his sister Rosie (Medium Rare) are mediums, and that the women on his mother’s side of the family have been practicing mediums in the King William District of San Antonio for over a century.

Ray is not just in the dark, but it’s about to get darker. Ray flips houses for a living, and the house he’s just started working on is a money pit. It needs way more work than he estimated, and he and his business partner have way too much of their capital tied up in it. So when the buttoned up production assistant for the cable TV show American Medium (there we go again) appears at his door asking if he’d be interested in having the white elephant of a house featured on the show, he’s in it for the cash.

He’s also in it for the chance at seeing the assistant again. Something about Emma Shea pulls him in, in spite of, or maybe because of, the way she dresses to diminish her appearance. Emma just thinks that Ray is way out of her league, but she hopes that her eccentric diva of a boss will use the house, so that she will have a chance to see Ray again.

The good news is that Gabrielle DeVere, the very fake medium of American Medium, wants to feature the house. The bad news is that while Gabrielle doesn’t really feel the spirits, the test seance she conducts wakes up something in the house that would have been much better left sleeping.

This money pit of a house is not merely haunted, but whatever malevolent spirit is hanging around is an all-purpose sexual predator who tries to sink her talons into Ray. And that’s the point when he finds out that talking to the dead is the proverbial skeleton in his family closet. And that the family ghosts are surprisingly talkative…and helpful.

The first thing they tell him is to listen to Emma. Great idea! The more time they spend together, trying to figure out what is going on in the house, the more they realize that the ghost did them a favor…it brought them together. Now they just have to figure out how to get rid of it before it kills them.

Happy Medium was a terrific conclusion to the Medium Trilogy, although I’m very sorry that it’s the conclusion. I’ve really enjoyed all three books, and I wish there were more somehow. I do think that it helps to have read the entire series; there is information about the family that makes more sense if you’ve read the previous books. And they’re fun!

Although this series is about the Ramos family, Happy Medium seemed like it was much more Emma’s story than Ray’s. Ray did have to accept that his family history was a little weird, and his dream conversations with the spirit members of the family were hard for him to swallow at first, but Ray is pretty grounded.

Emma is a hot mess. So there’s a story in her taking charge of her life, and taking it back from the bloodsucker that she works for. Emma does spend a little too much of the story lamenting the five pounds her boss says she needs to lose, and whinging about the life her boss doesn’t let her have. It’s great that she finally gets Gabrielle out of her life, but Emma starts out almost too mousy to become the heroine of her own life. She gets better.

One of the things I love about this series is that in each book a lot of research needs to be done into the history of a house, its potential ghosts, and the King William District. It doesn’t matter to me whether all the history is true or not, what I appreciate is that not all the important heroics involved fighting and pyrotechnics; the historical research is equally necessary to solve the case.

My favorite line in this book: “Not all succubi are ghosts.” It’s even better that it’s said by a ghost.

I give Happy Medium a B+

4 thoughts on “Review: Happy Medium by Meg Benjamin”

  1. Pingback: Happy Medium Is Here | Meg Benjamin's Weblog

  2. I love this series. It doesn’t seem to get any press at all, plus, I think the blurb for the first book scared off some readers because it made it sound kind of heavy and dark, so I’m glad to see this book being reviewed. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  3. Pingback: Review: Happy Medium by Meg Benjamin | Escape Reality, Read Fiction!

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