Ghostly Howls by Stephanie Hansen

Ghostly Howls by Stephanie Hansen
Publisher: Hypothesis Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, LGBTQ, Paranormal, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A heartbroken half banshee, a cockle selling soul possessor, and a town haunted by mysteries…if they don’t find the killer, Orla and Molly might die before finding their soulmates.

Orla and Dave’s love has been unrequited for as long as they can remember. Cormac and Molly are used to drawing outside the lines. None of them are prepared for the new ghostly neighbors.

In a town that’s always ostracized them, can Molly and Orla finally use their powers openly in order to save the citizens?

Don’t mess with spiritual matters unless you understand how they work.

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that explored the practical benefits and drawbacks of Orla and Molly’s powers. For example, Orla couldn’t even accept a simple handshake or hug from someone without activating her powers. The social isolation that came from not even being able to platonically touch other people affected her from a very early age, and this was only one of several examples of how careful these two characters needed to be when deciding where to live and how to interact with other folks. There were perks to their powers, too, and I appreciated the level of detail the author included in these passages. They gave me a lot of sympathy for Molly and Orla!

I would have liked to see more attention paid to the mystery elements of the storyline. They were not developed as well as the other themes even though the blurb made it sound like the mystery was going to be the main focus of the plot. I enjoyed the scenes that explored the romance and fantasy subplots, but I went into this tale expecting something quite different than what I ended up reading. If the mystery had been given more space to grow, I would have felt comfortable choosing a full five-star rating.

This novella included two different romantic relationships. I have to tip my cap to Ms. Hansen for pulling that off, especially given how many other things she had going on with the characters and storyline while she simultaneously developed these relationships. Both of the couples were well suited for each other and made me hope they’d end up living happily ever after. She couldn’t have done a better job showing the audience why these characters were good matches and why we should root for them. I’d say more, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers about who I’m talking about or why they were so perfect for each other.

Ghostly Howls kept me guessing until the end.