There are two Charlies (Charleys) in my life. Mentioning the first one to a friend, again, led to my getting to know the other, and both became book friends. Both can see ghosts, although one is a psychiatrist who can see the ghosts of the recently, violently departed, whereas the other is the Grim Reaper. But I love them both and since I’m in my need of comfort reading, it is time to write at length about my first Charlie: Dr Charlotte Stone.
I read the first book of the series, The Last Victim, in the fall of 2016 (so four years after it was published). It was on promotion, and since I had seen that Karen Robards is a friend of Jude Deveraux, and that I loved the book’s blurb, I decided to give it a go. I never looked back, even though it took me seven months to read the second book of the series (budget being what it is). And I then read the four books back to back, from cover to cover.
I was madly in reader’s love with Charlie… and with Michael. For if Charley Davidson (my second Charley) has Reyes Farrow, Charlie Stone has Michael Garland, her ghost to Davidson’s demon. And if Charley and Reyes are fated lovers, Charlie and Michael are just the opposite: star crossed.
For how could you build something with a… ghost, especially that of a convicted serial killer? After all, no matter how hot he is (hot as Hades), or how charming and charismatic (incredibly so), he remains both a ghost and a convicted serial killer.
Ghostly help comes in many forms
I’ve already mentioned that Charlotte Stone is a psychiatrist. She specialises in studying serial killers, her own way of coping with a major case of PTSD. When she was 17, she has been the only survivor of the serial killer who had murdered her best friend and her family (no spoiler, there, it’s in the blurb). What she did not expect was for her past to come and haunt her when murders with the same MO as those she escaped 15 years prior start happening, and that Charlie is asked to help the FBI with the investigation.
What she did not expect, either, was being nagged by the ghost of Michael Garland. So why not get his help? Or sort of…
After all, ghostly help comes in many forms, doesn’t it? Although maybe this “ghostly help” will also cause ravages to her heart. I did say that Michael is a charismatic, charming, and hot ghost!
Not just a romance
The Dr. Charlotte Stone series is labelled “romantic thrillers”, as are most of Karen Robards’ books, which means that yes, there is a love story, romance, and sex. However, there is so much more than that to each of the books, which all describe a specific investigation.
From that of the Boardwalk Killer, to that of the Gingerbread Man in The Last Kiss Goodbye, to one that hits Charlie and the team very close in Her Last Whisper, to trying to clear Michael’s name in The Last Time I Saw Her, the investigations and action will let you completely riveted to the pages of your book (or eReader).
Robards’ flair of action and her amazing storytelling will have you shivering, shuddering, laughing, and even crying. You will only end up loving and feeling for Charlie’s dilemma with her bizarre love triangle with her ghost and the breathing, living FBI Special Agent Tony Bartoli, but also with her own ghosts, those of her past, which made her the professional that she is.
Plus, you won’t be able to help but like cute Tony, yes, but also nerdy Buzz, prickly Lena, and the lovely Tam, Charlie’s psychic BFF.
The ingredients (friendship, love, action) are expertly woven together in a way that will ensure that you will only want more.
These are all the reasons why this series is one of my all-time favourites, and one that I do read at least once a year. For me, they are an absolute must.