In San Francisco, during the Roaring Twenties, Aida Palmer makes a living conjuring up the spirits of the dead at sold-out audiences in Chinatown’s Gris-Gris speakeasy. But Aida is no charlatan; by holding personal artifacts of recently deceased individuals, she can summon their ghosts, and can also dispel unwanted spirits.
When she meets talk, dark, and handsome bootlegger Winter Magnusson—a man more comfortable with guns than ghosts—she finds herself succumbing to his fierce magnetism. Magnusson hires her to get rid of the murderous ghosts that plague him, wrathful wraiths set upon him by an unknown conjurer. Together, they set out to track down Magnusson’s adversary while simultaneously indulging their erotic passions.
Although this novel is hardly “swoon-worthy,” as one reviewer wrote, it does have a strong and entertaining narrative combining the adventure of the bootlegging era with a ghost story. Bennett’s interpretation of ghosts, however, might annoy serious students of the paranormal. For instance, some of the ghosts might more accurately be considered zombies and Aida’s method of dispelling spirits by personally electrocuting them has little credence among the paranormal experts. Still, the story is compelling so readers should be willing to forgive the author’s fictive indulgences.