Title: The Mystery of the Morelock Motel
Series: Critter Catchers: Level Up
Author: Hank Edwards
Length: 161 Pages
Category: Paranormal Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: There’s nothing at all wrong with a good ghost story, and this is one.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: An abandoned motel. A ghostly urban legend. A paranormal blogger needing clicks.
Oliver Berridge has eked out a living blogging about creepy creatures. After riding shotgun on paranormal investigations with the Critter Catchers, Demetrius Singleton and his husband Cody Bower, Oliver decides it’s time to strike out on his own. With some help from his boyfriend, Dave, Oliver pays a visit to the Morelock Motel to dig into reports of mysterious disappearances.
Dave Bower moved back to Parson’s Hollow after falling for Oliver Berridge on one of the most unusual nights of his life: a werewolf invasion of his small hometown. Now, two years later, he’s more in love than he ever imagined he could be, and wanting to support Oliver as he tries to bring new visitors to his struggling paranormal blog. If that means spending a few nights in a rundown, abandoned, and supposedly haunted motel, he’s determined to see it through.
Creepy occurrences begin upon their arrival: screams in the woods, a mysterious intruder messing with their belongings, and someone pounding on the door though no one waits on the other side. When the investigation takes a suddenly dangerous and personal turn, Oliver is forced to call in the Critter Catchers for assistance. Demetrius and Cody arrive, but the danger escalates even more, and soon they’re all forced to take risks to unravel the Mystery of the Morelock Motel.
Review: The Mystery of the Morelock Hotel has ties to Hank Edwards’ Critter Catchers series, though it can be read as a standalone. I say this with the caveat that the characters from that series make important contributions to Oliver Berridge and Dave Bower’s story, but I didn’t feel as if I was missing context for, or information about, the characters and the world they inhabit that kept me for enjoying this book entirely on its own merits.
The paranormal horror that permeates the plot and drives the action is so much fun to become embroiled in. Some of my favorite tropes give the story plenty of anxious moments. If you’ve seen the movie The Ring and hate-watched the well scene but also loved it in totally stupid ways, you’ll know what I mean when I say the claustrophobic fear and abrasive anxiety of the climax of this mystery is relatable in a visceral way. There’s nothing at all wrong with a good ghost story, and this is one.
There is a romantic subplot that plays out alongside the paranormal mystery at the abandoned motel Oliver is investigating for his struggling blog. He and Dave are in the early stages of a relationship where there are plenty of deep feelings happening between them, but they’re also still feeling their way around those depths. The Morelock isn’t exactly a destination getaway—it’s nasty, to put it mildly—but Dave is there to support Oliver in every step of his investigation. Until . . .
The ghost wreaks havoc, as she has long been rumored to do, which means outside help is needed to make things right before someone else gets unalived by her vengeful spirit. That’s where a local as well as Dave’s brother and brother-in-law, Cody and Demetrius, come into the story to help. And if Cody can’t help but bust Oliver’s chops a little, that seems to simply be the nature of their relationship. Everything gets tied up nicely in the end, which works out well for the future of Oliver and Dave’s romance.
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