Shuttered Secrets (A Riley Thomas Mystery Book 2) – Melissa Erin Jackson

Shuttered Secrets (A Riley Thomas Mystery Book 2) – Melissa Erin Jackson

Synopsis

He doesn’t want her to focus on the past.

It’s been six months since Riley Thomas, reluctant medium extraordinaire, has had a ghost haunting her apartment, and she prefers it that way. Life is less complicated when the dead aren’t trying to get her attention. Her best friend is getting married and wants to DIY her way through wedding prep—Riley’s got no time for ghosts.

One of Jade’s wedding must-haves is vintage film cameras her guests can use to help document the big day. The months-long hunt for relics leads to a thrift shop jackpot, and Riley adds the cameras to the growing pile of wedding supplies in her apartment. That night, Riley gets a midnight wake-up call from a ghostly Black woman in a yellow dress.

Even after the haunted cameras are removed from the apartment, the ghost woman keeps popping up, both in Riley’s dreams and in the corner of her eye. Tracking down the previous owner of the cameras proves difficult, and as Riley digs deeper, she uncovers a link between the cameras and two murdered women—one white, one Black, yet neither one is Riley’s mystery woman.

Though the identity of the ghost proves to be as elusive as her predator, Riley is determined to uncover the truth of what happened to these women. But now someone knows she’s looking… and he’s hell-bent on making sure he finds her first.

Review

Warning: This is the story of a serial killer who raped his victims before killing them. It is not graphic in that sense, but constantly mentioned.

6 months have passed since the visit to the Jordanville Ranch. Riley and Michael are happy with their relationship, while Jade is about to get married to her boyfriend. Clearly Riley is her bridesmaid. The problem is that Jade is determined to do everything with her own hands for her wedding (for real, like, she even wanted to cook 🤣), so she has been dragging Riley all over town.

The problem with Jade was that she was obsessed with ghosts. The whole reason the spirits of serial killer Orin Jacobs and little Pete Vonick had entered Riley’s life in the first place had been because Jade forced Riley to attend a ghost hunting investigation weekend at Orin’s former home. And now another ghost was in her life, thanks to Jade.
Maybe she needed a new best friend.
A voice in the back of her head told her she couldn’t blame the Poltergeist of Aisle 3 on Jade. Or the weeping woman from miniature golf. She told the voice to shut up.

Riley’s abilities can’t be turned off, so even going to the supermarket became a problem when she encounters a raging ghost in an aisle. What to say when, after buying some old cameras for Jade’s marriage, a ghost appears in her own room… again.

Which meant two things. First, at least one of those cameras that sat in a box in her living room was haunted.
Dammit.
And second? She had to call Nina.
Double dammit.

The cameras were connected to the death of the young woman in the yellow dress who appeared to Riley. And when her dreams make her suspect that she is not the only victim, Riley has no choice but to reconnect with Nina, the medium she met at the ranch, and go back into solving these cases. .

Since Melissa said that this guy was even more psycho than the ones in the previous book, I was very scared, however this book was less terrible for me in that sense, since we are not inside his head like we were in Orin’s, which it was what really traumatized me.

However, it is just as terrible as the previous one in terms of the history.

Really my favorite part of these books is how they manage to mix the paranormal, with mystery and police investigation, with horrors, but also with things as mundane as a marriage or the development that Riley and Michael’s relationship is having, even showing us a food contest with his family. This not only helps to relax the tension of the book quite a bit, but it helps to connect more and more with Riley.

“Ooh,” Michael said from across the table. “If we’re going somewhere tropical, sister dear, your ass will be going swimming with dolphins.”
Donna shuddered violently beside Riley.
“She was bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld when she was a kid,” Carla told Riley.
“Demon fish,” Donna whispered softly to herself.
Riley suppressed a laugh.

Melissa does an incredible job of also showing how some cases receive more attention than others, which in fact was what prevented these murders from being discovered in the beginning, since being of “different levels” it was impossible for them to be connected.

This is a thriller and ghost story book, but it’s not really scary in that regard. The terrible thing is the serial killers and especially knowing that this part is not fiction. If you like mega dense mysteries without romance, this is not your book, it is a thriller a little “lighter” for saying, much more focused on the emotional. Again a round story for me. I hope Riley goes on her unelected detective path. What worries me is Melissa’s search history which must be full of phrases like “how to hide a body” 😅.

The men chuckled.
“Ah, so psychics have a dark sense of humor, too?” McGregor asked.
“It’s that or I curl up in a fetal position and never get up again.”
Howard grinned at her. “Same.”

It makes me think of Robert Welsh’s Monday ghost stories videos, which I take the opportunity to recommend because they are great. I would always see them, but every time I do I can’t sleep at night, so you can see my level of bravery 😂😂.

Bye bye 💕

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