I am not a fan of ghost romances, probably because the HEA is highly improbable. I’ve read several in the past, when I just read any book I can get my hands on, but no one book left a lasting impression.
Now, Karen Robards fans, please don’t blow your top at what I’m about to say next. I’ve read plenty of Karen Robards books as well, and the book I really like before the Dr. Charlotte Stone Series came onto the scene is Scandalous. (I’ve yet to read the next two books in the historical romance Banning Sisters series though.) That said, I thought her romantic suspense books are just normal, average suspense books, none that leave a lasting impression. (Unlike Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan, who is obsessed with finding her daughter’s bones and not finding them after each book. I eventually grew tired of chasing after that series and gave it up as well.)
However, I must say the author stumbled upon a winning combination in the Dr. Charlotte Stone Series.
Ghost romance? Check.
Romantic suspense? Check.
Perhaps it’s the combination of these two factors, plus Ms. Robards got four books over which to develop her characters and their relationship, that made this series work for me. And maybe it’s also the uncertainty of: “Could Michael be the hero of this series? But he’s a ghost! Is he innocent after all? But how, when there’s evidence (surveillance cam)?”
After all, if you’re still following after three books and waiting impatiently for the fourth, then it means Ms. Robards did a good job in getting you to become invested in the characters, and making you care for them and their HEA. After all, after the first sex scene in The Last Victim (Yowza! It was HOT!), you can sort of guess that Michael is Charlotte/Charlie’s love interest, even if their romance developed over several books (as opposed to the usual one book). Will Charlie and Michael have a real HEA? How is the author going to do that, as one is a ghost? Will Charlie be able to clear Michael’s name (of course he’s innocent!)? How? These are the questions that fans want the answers to, and here we are with the fourth book, The Last Time I Saw Her, out now and available in Amazon!
And to think, according to the author, she didn’t set out to write a ghost romance! Michael was intended to die, but somehow he took on a life of his own (haha!) and became the hero of this series! Read more.
Another thing I have to say for Ms. Robards, she knows when to stop. Some authors would’ve seen the popularity of the series and taken the opportunity to milk it for as long as they could. However, when a series drags on interminably long, it tends to lose fans along the way. And perhaps Ms. Robards (or her editor or manager or whoever) know this. Hence, now that it’s still hot, people are still clamoring for it, she’s willing to give people the closure the series needs and leave everyone with a good impression of it (and her). And to her, I say “thank you”, though I probably won’t want to say goodbye to Charlotte and Michael at the end of book 4.
Although…would this be the end? Here’s a Facebook post from the author (August 23, 2015 entry):
“This fourth book in the Dr. Charlotte Stone series concludes the original arc of Charlie’s story. By that I mean we find out the ultimate fate of Charlie’s ghostly lover, convicted serial killer Michael Garland. If you’re not familiar with the books, “Charlie” Stone is a psychiatrist who skillfully probes the twisted minds of incarcerated serial killers to better understand what makes them tick, and to help nab those who remain at large. Michael was one of her research subjects who was murdered in prison and who died in her arms as she tried to save his life. To Charlie’s horrified dismay, Michael’s ghost refuses to move on to the great Hereafter, and instead stays with her. In this book, Michael is facing oblivion – the total destruction of his soul. He has vanished from Charlie’s world, and she is terrified that she will never see him again.”
Then in August 25 entry, she says:
“Today’s the day: THE LAST TIME I SAW HER is out! Michael finds his fate, Charlie learns what she can and cannot live without, and the whole team comes together to do what they do best: save the lives of innocent people. I love these characters, and I hope you enjoy their story.”
From these two entries, it seems that Michael will definitely have closure. And it seems we’ll see Charlie again. Book 5? But what will happen to Michael? I’m interested to learn what Charlie can and cannot live without!
But really, do you see a way out for a ghost to become human again just so he could have his HEA with his beloved?
Anyway, I don’t want to speculate. I already got the book and I’m dying to dive into it! (Too much work prevents me from doing it thus far. Maybe the weekend?… If I can wait that long. LOL)
For your reference, the series (in order):