By Starr Gardinier
Published September 18, 2015 by The Wild Rose Press
About the Book:
Melinda's family is dead, killed for information that is hidden deep within her mind. Her father tries to warn her from the 'Other Side' that she is in danger from the killers who want what only she can give them. Committed to Skyview Haven, she must determine if the 'Other Side' truly exists or if it is a trick of her heart and mind.
With time running out Melinda must determine who she can trust. Is it the ghosts of her family, a boy who may not be who he appears to be, or the doctor who is determined to cure her? Can she figure out the truth before it is too late?
While most of the books I choose to read and review fall in the realm of romance (YA, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical, Military... I'm not picky as long as there's an HEA involved...) this book is outside my usual comfort zone. But with Halloween around the corner, this cover seemed to scream at me to be read. I always try to find something on the spookier side around this time of year, and even dipped my toes into horror last year when I read and reviewed some of Danielle DeVor's spooky stories (... and was thrilled when she made the list of top women authors in the genre.)
THE OTHER SIDE is a paranormal ghost story, where nothing is quite what it seems. Told in a broken first person POV by a highly unreliable narrator, the story unfolds in fits and starts, mainly through the main character's sessions with her new doctor. Melinda has been institutionalized for a number of years (8? 10? Several numbers are thrown about and it's never actually determined.) and now she's been assigned a new doctor to determine if she can finally be released.
Melinda sounds crazy and paranoid, both in her dialogue with the doctor and the inner thoughts she shares with the reader. Being institutionalized at 13 and drugged for years obviously muddled her mind. Somehow she still garners the reader's sympathy, as we root for her to think clearly and remember the truth. She tells confused stories about her father dying and coming back to life that make little sense, yet the new doctor is gentle with her and as she gets more comfortable with him her stories seem to untwist into more cohesive tales.
Even though the cover makes it look like a horror story, there's no blood, gore or gotcha moments, and the ghosts are all trying to help the narrator. The author gives us an interesting take on ghosts and the afterlife, creating a unique world with its own set of rules.
And then the third person POV chapters start dropping in... Letting the reader know that Melinda's paranoia is justified. There really is someone out to get her. Other third person chapters inform the reader that the ghosts speaking to her aren't a figment of her delusional mind. They are actually reaching out to her from the Other Side.
THE OTHER SIDE is an enjoyable, twisted ghost story with not a hint of romance anywhere along the line. If you like first person mysteries that unravel slowly, give this a try.
Grab a copy on Amazon in time for Halloween!