I’m a total scaredy cat. I can’t watch horror movies–even seeing the trailers spooks me. I blame my overactive imagination. I’m easily frightened and don’t enjoy the feeling, so I usually steer clear of scary stories.
Sometimes a book’s premise is just so good that I’ll dive into it despite how terrifying it sounds. (For example: Burn the Dark.) And sometimes the book has such a delicious gothic atmosphere that I’ll keep reading despite the scary parts.
The Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series has a great premise, eerie southern gothic vibes, and excellent characters and plots. I binge-read each of the three novels in this boxed set, unable to stop even though the ghosts seriously freaked me out. It’s a great mix of urban fantasy and supernatural horror, and this boxed set is a perfect place to start the series since it contains the first three novels.
Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper
Ellie Jordan’s job is to catch and remove unwanted ghosts. Part detective, part paranormal exterminator, Ellie operates out of Savannah, Georgia, the most haunted city in the United States.
When a family contacts her to deal with a disturbing presence in the old mansion they’ve recently purchased, Ellie first believes it to be a typical, by-the-book specter, a residual haunting by a restless spirit. Instead, she finds herself confronting an evil older and more powerful than she’d ever expected, rooted in the house’s long and sordid history of luxury, sin, and murder. The dangerous entity seems particularly interested in her clients’ ten-year-old daughter.
Soon her own life is in danger, and Ellie must find a way to exorcise the darkness of the house before it can kill her, her clients, or their frightened young child.
The first book is easy to remember, since its title is the same as the series. It’s also a perfect introduction. You meet Ellie, the protagonist and viewpoint character, who hunts and traps ghosts. She has no supernatural powers but uses a variety of ghost-hunting technology, and she’s smart, determined, and very good at her job. A ghost killed both her parents when she was a child, so she’s dedicated to the point of having almost no social life or hobbies outside of work.
She’s kind of like a ghost-hunting Batman, except not rich.
You also meet Calvin, her mentor/boss, Jacob, a conflicted psychic whose powers awakened after he survived a plane crash, and my personal favorite secondary character–Stacey, a new hire who becomes Ellie’s sidekick/apprentice. She’s perky and outgoing where Ellie is more serious, and their dynamic is one of my favorite parts of the series.
“Why do ghosts wrap themselves in bedsheets?” Stacy asked.
“They don’t do that. Why would you even think–?”
“So they can rest in peace.” Stacey beamed, then her smile faltered a little. “That’s a joke.”
“No, jokes make you laugh.”
I haven’t even gotten into the actual haunted house yet, but it’s super creepy. Ellie and Stacey have a lot of terrifying encounters and close calls with death, but there are enough funny moments inter-spaced throughout the plot that it’s not all grim and ghastly. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be finished with the book before you know it.
Footsteps in the attic. Toys that play by themselves. A dark presence in an upstairs room.
Paranormal investigator Ellie Jordan faces a difficult new case. Her new clients are a family haunted by multiple ghosts and a poltergeist that wrecks their home at night. Their seven-year-old son’s invisible friends may not be imaginary at all, but the restless spirits of dead children.
To clear her clients’ house of the dangerous entities, Ellie must unravel the mysterious deaths of another family who lived in the old mansion more than a hundred and sixty years ago—and she must do it before the ghosts can carry out their malevolent designs on her clients and their children.
Oh, man. This house. There’s a terrifying shadow man whose dreadful presence makes people avoid the room he haunts even in daylight. There are two creepy child ghosts who seem mischievous but harmless–at first. Then there’s the poltergeist throwing objects around.
“Do you feel like your family is in danger?” I asked.
“Heck, yes,” Toolie said. “If it can throw furniture around, then it can throw us around, too.”
How did all these different entities become so active at once? It’s a Ouija board’s fault, of course, because they’re terrible.
Ellie and Stacey have a lot of research to do to figure out who the entities were in life and how they’re related. But don’t worry: it’s not all research. There’s plenty of attacks by whip-wielding shadow men, murder attempts by creepy dead children, and poltergeists trying to drown, strangle, and smash our protagonist.
This is an excellent sequel, giving the readers more of what we loved from the first book while still covering new ground.
The Crawling Darkness
Ghost removal specialist Ellie Jordan must face a dangerous, shape-shifting entity that she and Calvin have encountered once before, with tragic results. The spirit has the power to reach into the minds of living and feed on their fears, taking the shape of their worst nightmares, and it has awoken in search of new victims.
Now Ellie must try to succeed where she and her mentor failed before, and try to defeat the twisted and powerful old ghost before it can claim another soul for its collection.
What’s worse than a regular ghost? One that shapeshifts into your worst fear, feeding on your emotions until you’re drained dry, and eventually stealing you away. Ellie and co. are hunting the boogieman in this book, a creepy spirit that crawls on ceilings like a spider when it’s not taking the form of horror movie villains to terrify children.
This is a great installment in series because it makes the stakes more personal to the characters. We’ve known since the first book that Calvin is in a wheelchair after an encounter with a dangerous ghost that he and Ellie failed to catch. Ellie begins to suspect this could be the same entity when she notices the boarded-up house it used to haunt is only a few houses down from her client’s apartment building, and her suspicions are confirmed after she talks to the client and her family.
So Ellie wants to catch the ghost for Calvin’s sake, but since she failed before, it raises the question of how she’ll succeed this time.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this volume. Stacey opens up to Ellie about why she became a ghost hunter, and some romantic subplots really start to kick off. And just when you think Ellie has figured out the ghost and is about to trap it, the book throws a huge plot twist at us.
While this boxed set is the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper Trilogy, there are many more than three books in the series, and after reading these, I really have no choice but to move on to book 4.
If you want to start the series, this boxed set is currently FREE at most retailers.
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Have you read Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comments!