I give this novel ****1/2 out of five stars.
A funny thing happened to me while I was reading Ghost of a Chance by Dee Lloyd. You see, I don’t read romance novels–it’s not that I don’t respect them, and it’s not that I don’t know that it has been, and remains, one of the most popular fiction genres out there–it’s just that I never got around to reading one. What I know of romance came pretty much from the front covers of the “bodice rippers” my mother used to read back when I was a kid which showed well-endowed young women swooning into the arms of tall muscular heroes whose most endearing quality appeared to be their dental work. That, for me, was romance.
Boy, did I ever have it wrong.
Milly’s twin sister Yvette has been missing for some time when the novel opens, and Milly has been haunted by nightmares in which she relives what she believes to be Yvette’s brutal murder. Enter Bret, a man with a mysterious past relating to secret government work now working as an investigator, who has an encounter with a ghostly apparition on a lonely stretch of Florida road –Yvette–who manages to get out two words, “Warn them” before she disappears. Bret and Milly meet, and together work to find out what happened to Yvette, and find her killer–if, indeed, there is one.
While Ms. Lloyd and her publisher have chosen to call Ghost of a Chance “romantic suspense”, they could have just as easily–and accurately–called the novel a mystery/thriller. Yes, there is a love story here–but it progresses naturally from the events surrounding Milly and Bret. Ms. Lloyd deftly relates their growing passion while at the same time never letting either of them–or the reader–forget that there is a murderer out there, and that they have to find him/her. Plot twists abound, danger lurks around every corner and–from a strictly mystery point of view–there is no cheating here. This is a very complex story, and yet the reader never finds themselves lost or confused. We find out the truth when Milly and Bart do and, when we do, we wonder how we could have missed it.
Where Ms. Lloyd truly excels, however, is in the development and presentation of her characters. Writing with what I can only call an elegant brevity, Ms. Lloyd develops her characters naturally throughout the course of the novel, as opposed to giving the reader a laundry list of attributes right at the start. The characters in this novel are complex, multi-dimensional people, and the reader is allowed to get to know–and care–about them gradually. Even the secondary and minor characters are exquisitely drawn and very memorable–an absolute must in a story this complex. There are no stereotypical “women who always need rescuing” or “men who have all the answers–and a great set of pecs besides” here. Ghost of a Chance is peopled with capable, intelligent characters that the reader is glad to have gotten to know by the story’s end.
And so yes, a funny thing happened to me while I was reading Ghost of a Chance by Dee Lloyd. After years of assuming that any novel with the word “romance” attached to it couldn’t possibly appeal to me, I found myself riveted and engrossed in a prime example of what had been, for me, a totally alien and dreaded genre. Ghost of a Chance is, quite simply, a great read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes quality fiction–regardless of genre-bias.
Reviewed by Rob Holden for Fiction Factor
“Dee Lloyd’s ‘Ghost of a Chance’ is a tale so well written the reader is swept into a maelstrom of paranormal activity, mystery and murder from the first page. Thoroughly developed characters bring intense emotion into play and allow the author to explore the unique relationship and spiritual/emotional bond between twins. An exciting and sometimes hair-raising read, ‘Ghost of a Chance’ is a definite keeper… just don’t read it on any dark and stormy nights or you may never listen to a saxophone again…”
Denise M. Clark — Road to Romance
95 out of 100 from Atlantic Bridge Publishing!
“From the attention-grabbing opening to the eminently satisfying ending, Dee Lloyd’s GHOST OF A CHANCE proves why her books receive rave reviews and awards… Ghost of a Chance works on two levels. First, as a great romance between Bret and Milly, and second, as a suspenseful story of murder and the supernatural. For readers who like their suspense spooky ala Mary Higgins Clark and their romance steamy, this book is a good bet.”
Monette Draper, Atlantic Bridge Reviews
Overall rating: 5 hearts
Practical ex-agent Bret Thornton believes there is a non-emotional solution to any situation. When he’s told by a bloody ghost on a lonely road to “warn” an unidentified ” her”, he heads to an old pal’s bar. Seeing Milly, the ghost’s identical twin sister, singing in the bar makes him doubt his sanity. Milly doesn’t want Bret’s help in her search for her missing sister, but when someone tries to kill them both, she gives in. They cope with vicious attacks, an insistent ghost, and their own determination to maintain their independence. Of course, they fall in love anyway.
Plunging temperatures, an unnatural silence broken by the eerie wail of saxophone had Bret Thorton rattled. For the past week, every time he drove down that short stretch of road, which passed the deserted construction site, it had been the same–except tonight. Tonight Bret encountered on that stretch a woman he barely knew, Yvette Pelletier, who issued a grave warning, “Danger–Warn Her.” The fact she was walking down the middle of the road wearing one shoe and all battered and bloody was unusual in itself. The fact she simply vanished into thin air sent Bret in search of his old friend and a stiff drink.
Milly Brzezynski had been plagued by the same horrible nightmare for the past week. She struggled with a faceless assailant as his fingers squeezed the life from her. Did this have anything to do with her twin sister, Yvette, who had disappeared without a trace a week ago? Her twin-sense told her it did.
Bret and Millie emerge as well rounded complex characters, supported by a wonderful cast and vivid imagery. Author, Dee Lloyd creates a fast paced, spellbinding mystery in Ghost of a Chance for anyone who loves a powerful story of betrayal, murder and money, while weaving the story of two people brought together by a ghost–a romance which will warm your heart.
Reviewer: Donna Bedrick for Lovers of Romance
GHOST OF A CHANCE is a fast paced, action filled suspense with interesting characters, likable hero and heroine, sexy romance, and a bang-up finale. I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished reading the last page. Two thumbs up and a high-five. Buy this book! You’ll like it too.
Duvee Jacoby http://romance-central.com/Dovie/
Ghost of a Chance by Dee Lloyd is a fascinating tale of betrayal, murder, ghosts, and love. The main characters Bret and Millie are both twins, both extremely stubborn and bossy, and both determined to have their way. Throughout the story, these two are very attracted to one another but continue to push away from a relationship only to come back together when danger threatens one of them. Ms. Lloyd leads the reader on a merry chase trying to find who is endangering Bret and Millie and what happened to Yvette. I enjoyed this tale and would love to read another story about some of the supporting characters. I would like to know what happens to Bart, Bret’s twin, Kit, their cousin, or aunt Flo. Each of them were entertaining secondary characters that would make great main characters.
Reviewed by: Stephanie B. for Fallen Angels 5 Angels
FIVE ANGEL REVIEW:
(Snippet) “Ghost of a Chance by Dee Lloyd is a fascinating tale of betrayal, murder, ghosts, and love. … Ms. Lloyd leads the reader on a merry chase trying to find who is endangering Bret and Millie and what happened to Yvette. I enjoyed this tale and would love to read another story about some of the supporting characters. I would like to know what happens to Bart, Bret’s twin, Kit, their cousin, or aunt Flo. … entertaining secondary characters that would make great main characters.”
Reviewed by: Stephanie B.
Ghost of a Chance is a mystery story with a paranormal twist. The clues to a woman’s disappearance are being left by…the dead woman herself! Her twin sister, Milly, and Bret, a former agent of an agency no one wants to talk about, both are visited by this hint dropping ghost who leads them to the solution… and each other.
I really enjoyed the way Bret and Milly, attracted from the start, manage their relationship. Both the love-making and the fighting seemed real, less simply put there to keep the plot moving. And the way the ghost makes her presence known tended to leave goosebumps up my spine.
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading other of Dee’s works.
Janet Miller for Paranormal Romance
Bret Thornton recently finished his last assignment for a covert federal agency and now works for a security firm. He attended his cousin Kit’s wedding not long ago where he met Yvette Pelletier, the attractive attorney who was Kit’s maid of honor. Passing through an abandoned construction site a few days later, Bret has an experience that shakes him badly enough that he needs a drink. He might as well look up Buzz, an old service buddy who has a bar in the neighborhood. The Grove turns out to be more than a saloon; it’s an upscale restaurant with Yvette singing at a piano bar — or so he thinks at first.
Emilienne has owned and run The Grove since her husband Buzz’s death two years ago. For several nights she’s had frightening dreams and the feeling that the dreams are connected to her twin sister Yvette. While entertaining the customers this night, her attention is caught by a man watching her with unusual intensity. Later, she’s not surprised when he turns out to be the man who asked for Buzz. Milly discovers Bret knew Yvette–which partly explains his stares. She’s somewhat surprised at his take-charge attitude when she tells him Yvette disappeared shortly after the wedding. Bret insists on helping her investigate the matter.
GHOST OF A CHANCE jumps into the ghostly elements of the story without preliminaries. The plot takes right off building suspense from there. Even though the villain’s identity is revealed fairly early, the build-up of evidence and proof keeps a grip on one’s attention. Character development proceeds more slowly. Bret and Milly grow on one as the attraction they both reluctantly feel develops into more, and as they interact with their families and other minor players.
I’ve found Dee Lloyd’s romantic suspense novels to always have a logical storyline with challenging conflicts and likable people. The touch of the otherworldly in this one doesn’t detract from the realism at all; it adds an intriguing new spice to the mix. Try it; you’ll like it.
Jane Bowers for Romance Reviews Today
Ghost of a Chance is a very exciting and well written mystery/romance. Bret and Mille are attracted to each other right away, but both are reluctant to get too close. Bret is not sure he is ready for a commitment, and Millie’s memories of her late husband are very much with her. As they work together to solve the puzzle of Yvette’s disappearance, the slowly intensifying feelings they have for each other become a safe haven, as they uncover a web of murder and deceit. The characters in this story are very interesting, very believable. The descriptions are rich, but not too long and drawn out. This is a fast moving story, a nail-biter, and hard to put down. The romance is sweet and sexy…and sometimes funny. Ms. Lloyd has a good one here. I look forward to reading more of her work.
Reviewer: Paula K firstname.lastname@example.org