Review: Spirit by John Inman

Jason Day, brilliant designer of video games, is not only a confirmed bachelor, but he’s as gay as a maypole. One wouldn’t think being saddled with his precocious four-year-old nephew for four weeks would be enough to throw him off-kilter.

Wrong. Timmy, Jason’s nephew, is a true handful.

But just when Timmy and Uncle Jason begin to bond, and Jason feels he’s getting a grip on this babysitting business once and for all, he’s thrown for a loop by a couple of visitors—one from Tucson, the other from beyond the grave.

I’m sorry. Say what?

  Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride.

I love a good ghost story. I love haunted houses. Put those two things together with likable MC’s, a mystery, a charming kid, a geriatric dog, lots of good humor and romance; now, set it in my hometown of San Diego and you have one happy reader right here.

Spirit has everything I love about John Inman’s stories, I always find them totally entertaining and I never want to put them down. This one has more mystery and paranormal activity going on, but not so much that the spirit of the romance was lost in the shuffle (see what I did there?).

When I was first introduced to Jason, his sister Sally and his nephew Timmy I was a little surprised that Sally would be leaving her son for 4 weeks. As a mom I was thinking, nooooo way, even if it was with his uncle. As the story progressed though and I got a better picture of Sally it made more sense. Mother of the Year, she ain’t. But, being allegedly abandoned by her husband and left with a newborn I could sympathize a little. She had a chance to get away with her new beau, jackass extraordinaire, Jack, so she took it. Jack doesn’t like Jason and Jason doesn’t like Jack. Having a character to hate, guilt free, is a lot of fun. Jack has no redeeming qualities and I cheered for Jason with every zinger he sent Jack’s way.

After Jack and Sally hit the road Timmy and Jason settle into a routine of sorts. As much routine you can get with a 4 year old who isn’t yours, when Sam comes calling. Sam is Paul’s (the allegedly abandoning husband) younger brother. He isn’t totally convinced that Paul took off, Paul wasn’t that kind of guy and he wants to do a little snooping and see if he can get some answers. What Sam doesn’t expect is the attraction to Jason and vice versa.

So, now all three of them are settling into a little routine. Sam is getting to know Timmy and Sam and Jason are doing the sexual chemistry dance. While all of this is going on, strange things are happening at home. The house really doesn’t like it when Sally calls to check in and whatever is in the basement has taken an interest in Timmy. It’s a great mix of mystery, sexy times and funny banter.

Reading about kids in books isn’t always my favorite. More often than not the kids are not age appropriate and to me they just become distracting because they are so unrealistic. Timmy though? Timmy is great. Sure, he’s precocious, but he’s also hilarious and read like a little kid. His banter with Jason is gold and I loved their relationship. Not to mention Timmy’s new best friend, Jason’s geriatric dog, Thumper. There really isn’t anything much better than boy and his dog moments and these two are perfect for each other. Thumper may not be able to get around much, or keep up like she would like to, but having Timmy around is giving her a second lease on life and she comforts and protects Timmy so well. It was just too darned heartwarming not to mention.

Jason is a really likable guy and he and Sam have a real connection brewing that is so very sweet and very low angst which I think worked well. They had enough going on in the house and with Timmy without added relationship drama. They discussed their feelings realistically (as realistically as you can in a haunted house) and honestly. I know I’ve said this before, but that is basically what I love best about John Inman’ stories, the MC’s get together earlier than in a lot of books and while they may have a little relationship drama it’s not angst just for the sake of it. I get to see more than just the very beginning of the relationship and I can appreciate them as a couple for a good part of the story we well as individuals.

This may be my favorite John Inman book so far that I’ve read. Saying that, I feel like I’m cheating on all my favorite characters in his other books, but as I’ve said I do love an entertaining ghost story and this is all that and more. I didn’t want to put it down and would highly recommend it.

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