I love a good romantic suspense book, especially if there are some gothic elements thrown in for good luck. That's one of the reasons why I love the Barbara Michaels' books. She writes the type of books that I love to read, and if I were an author, the type of books that I would want to write. Last night, I finished Walker in Shadows, one of Michaels' best woo-woo books. In this book, we have Pat Robbins, recently widowed mother of 19 year-old Mark. She lives in one of those huge, gothic type houses that you just know would be haunted. Next-door is a mirror image house. The pair of houses was built in the 1800s for a pair of twin sisters. Well, Josef Fredericks, recently divorced, moves into the next-door house with his 17 year-old daughter, Kathy. Tensions develop between the families when Mark falls for Kathy, who is forbidden to see Mark by her dad. Then Josef makes a remark about Pat that comes off as making her sound as if Pat is out to hook him. One night, when Pat is coming home from an evening out with a friend, she hears screams from the Fredericks' house. When she gets there, she finds Josef struggling with his screaming daughter. Nope, Josef isn't an abusive dad. A ghost in the house has traumatized Kathy. Pat and Mark get sucked into the horror because the entity is in search of Kathy, even if it means finding her in the Robbins' house. Of course, by the end, the problems are resolved, because that's what people want in their romantic suspense, a happy conclusion.
One of the things that I loved about the book was the absence of a typical gothic heroine. Pat Robbins is in her forties, a working mom, widowed, and not your typical beauty. As I get older, I love to see characters that are more realistic as the main character of books. Michaels is great at putting atypical people into romantic leads. Walker in Shadows kept me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages of the book late into the night. Not only did I want to know what was behind all of the horrifying situations, but I also wanted to know what would happen with Pat and Josef. I have to admit that I thought the romance bit happened a bit quickly between the two of them. It seemed forced, but it was still enjoyable. I have more of Michaels on my TBR list, and if they are as good as Walker in Shadows, I'll be happy.