Title: The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings
Series: Black and Blue: Book One
Author: Lily Morton
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 301 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Mystery
At a Glance: Lily Morton set out to do something a little different with this novel, and she succeeded in spades while still maintaining all the wonders that make a Lily Morton book a Lily Morton book. There is absolutely nothing that didn’t satisfy me and my love of the paranormal in this first offering in the Black and Blue series.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Levi Black is at a crossroads. After suffering a loss and breaking up a long-term relationship, he’s looking for a change. When he receives the news he’s inherited a house in York, he seizes the opportunity to begin a new chapter in his life.
However, when he gets there, he finds a house that has never kept its occupants for very long. Either through death or disinclination, no one stays there, and after a few days of living in the place, Levi can understand why. Strange noises can be heard at all hours of the day and night, and disturbing and scary things begin to happen to him. He never believed in ghosts before, but when events take a sinister turn, he knows he must look for help. He finds it in the unlikely form of the blue-haired leader of a ghost tour.
Blue Billings is edgy, beautiful, and lost. Utterly lost. He conceals so many secrets that some days it’s a miracle he remembers his own name. He knows that he should ignore Levi because he threatens the tenuous grip Blue has on survival. But there’s something about the kind-eyed man that draws Blue to him. Something that demands he stay and fight for him when he would normally run in the opposite direction.
As the two men investigate the shocking truth behind Levi’s house, they also discover a deep connection that defies the short length of time they’ve known each other. But when events escalate and his life is on the line, Levi has to wonder if it was wise to trust the Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings.
Review: The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings is an absolute flex. Lily Morton set out to do something a little different with this novel, and she succeeded in spades while still maintaining all the wonders that make a Lily Morton book a Lily Morton book. There is a plenitude of charm, cheek, humor and attitude present between Levi and Blue, as one who’s familiar with this author’s previous works would expect, but the difference-maker here is that it’s also mixed up with some seriously satisfying spooks.
I consider myself a demanding reader when it comes to speculative fiction, in all its various forms. I expect quite a lot from it, as a matter of fact, because there’s such a wealth of opportunity to draw imaginative things from it, even if some of the broader elements might be familiar to readers who sample it extensively. There’s nothing quite like a good ghost story to get the adrenaline flowing, and this one happens to be first-rate with the bonus of a lovely romance that blossoms inadvertently from a malevolent darkness residing within the very bricks and mortar of Levi Black’s new residence. Moving to York from London was meant to be a fresh start for Levi after a breakup. How could he have possibly fathomed that his new digs would come to be the near death of him?
Where this novel succeeds—apart from the obvious adoration I developed for its characters—is in the setting, both the historical and the present, and the building of the backstory around the house itself. That there is more than one ghost in Levi’s house provides an excellent Good vs Evil element which lends itself to some lovely development of the mystery surrounding the house’s own murderous history. That there are ghost tours which explore York’s haunted history and legends is where reality meets fiction, and the city becomes a bit of a character unto itself. The Devil of York’s murderous 19th century crime spree takes on a Jack the Ripper tone, which is never not compelling, but the primary difference here is that, unlike the Ripper, the mystery of the Devil’s identity does not go unsolved. And not without some truly harrowing experiences for Levi and Blue along the way. Morton uses her word power to draw those scenes out in splendid detail, building the suspense and danger to a gratifying peak, generating more than a few verbal jump-scares and the requisite “Oh god, don’t go in there. Why are you going in there?!?!” moments that left me feeling rather giddy and encompasses my love of the genre.
As Levi and Blue’s friendship solidifies—something that evolves from a blend of Levi’s innate kindness as well as from his fascination with the blue-haired beauty who dresses in Victorian garb and leads his own ghost tours through the city, and Levi’s own paranormal abilities which are enhanced by a compelling polarity of strength and vulnerability—the romantic elements of the story become as integral to its whole as the efforts to exorcise the house of its oppressive evil. Of course, there’s also the semi-meet cute to add some levity to the overall tone of the story, as Levi’s house happens to be a stop on Blue’s tour. It’s really less a meeting, though, than a comedic, albeit inadvertent, bit of…ahem…indecent exposure on Levi’s part, which did nothing but endear the story to me all the more.
There is absolutely nothing that didn’t satisfy me and my love of the paranormal in this first book of the Black and Blue series. Levi’s and Blue’s backstories come to bear on every facet of the storyline as well as, yes, that of the ghosts, as they are each integral to Levi and Blue’s relationship and to the murderous nature of the house and the secrets hidden within its framework. There are several characters I hope will make appearances in future stories, among them Blue’s best friend, Will (oh, who am I kidding, he just needs his own book), and his new employer, Tom, along with one particularly spectral character, in what promises to be a fun and now much anticipated new venture for the author.
You can buy The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B0819FQJLX?d” style=”black” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]