You guys, Specter debuts in just two days, and I’m beyond excited. Specter is a YA paranormal thriller perfect for any Stranger Things fan. If you like fast-paced thrillers with twists and turns that will seriously keep you guessing and strong female characters, then this is a book not to miss.
Want to preview the book? Chapter One is down below. ❤
About the Book
Author: Katie Jane Gallagher
Print Length: 370 pages
Publisher: Hidden Bower Press
Available in paperback and ebook format
Retailers: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | all other major retailers | Hidden Bower Press
Available on Overdrive! Speak with your local library staff to learn more.
A long-buried secret lies within the woods…
Horror aficionado Lanie Adams should be thrilled when two eighties-era ghosts materialize in her bedroom. Yet after a fainting incident unbecoming of a horror nerd, she would rather her haunting just go away—the ghosts’ distorted, waterlogged voices and ice-cold auras are more terrifying than any movie. Enlisting the help of Ryan, an entirely-too-cute stoner, she makes it her mission to put the spirits stalking her to rest.
Some sleuthing reveals that their sleepy Connecticut town is host to a shadowy, decades-old conspiracy. If Lanie wants to say a final goodbye to her ghosts, she’ll need to keep digging. But it’s important to tread carefully. The culprit is still in town—and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.
“Fans of Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, Meg Cabot’s The Mediator (throw-back!), and Netflix’s Stranger Things will binge this book from cover to cover… Her abounding wit, humor, and determination make Lanie so much more than a fictional character; she is the girl we’d all want at our lunch table, or hiking through a Connecticut woods with us on the most magical night of the year. Lanie is a girl we can root for, one many of us can relate to and one we certainly need to see more of.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
“Omg I devoured this book, can’t remember the last time I read a book so fast! I can totally see why it’s being pitched as similar to Stranger Things, since it’s very suspenseful with ghosts, demons, and an 80’s element (even though it’s not set in the 80’s).” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
“I love a good book about ghosts and specter doesn’t disappoint. I’m glad that I was able to relate to the main character since I’m introverted and I love horror movies. The books is fast paced and I didn’t really want to put the book down!” Entertainingly Nerdy, 5 stars
Want a sneak peek at Chapter One? Just keep reading. ❤
It turned out all the books and movies had gotten ghosts dead wrong. Still, I knew what I was dealing with from that very first glimpse. Just like you can tell a cat from a dog, some instinct thrummed through me, real deep and low in my gut, and I knew. The dead aren’t the living, and it was the dead I saw that day.
Day, not night—see? Granted it was October, but the way early bit of October, too early for even me to be getting excited about America’s best holiday. Plus it was sunny, plus it was a Tuesday. If the days of the week were people, Tuesday would be bumbling, adorable, and absolutely average—perhaps the younger cousin of trendy and aloof Thursday. Nothing notable is supposed to happen on Tuesdays, let alone anything supernatural.
I was in bed, wrapped up burrito-style in my blankets, shivering from a fever and halfway to miserable—only halfway because it was just about the time Mrs. Morrie would be handing out the math test I was supposed to be taking. It’s funny how things work out; the night before I’d considered faking sick to dodge the test, and now here I was, sick for real.
I was just sinking into a nap when the door creaked open, followed by the light pad of footsteps. I snaked an arm out from under the warmth of my comforter, my hand meeting soft fur.
“Hey, Mustard,” I croaked. The virus hadn’t spared my throat. I patted the bed, and my golden retriever jumped up and began snuffling my face, all whiskers and dog breath.
“Gross!” And as I pushed him away, I saw a flash of blue-tinged skin in the corner of the room.
That was the next thing that wasn’t right. It—she—had none of the silvery translucence from the stories. In fact, she wasn’t see-through at all, her figure cast in slow-moving blue shadows, like the sun making mottled patterns on the seafloor.
There was a ghost in my room—a ghost my age, her hair a big mess of feathery curls straight out of an eighties movie, her clinging black leotard and jeans vintage to match. And she was looking right at me.
I jerked back, yelping as my head collided with the headboard. The ghost’s eyes widened. In my peripheral vision, Mustard was making circles at the end of the bed, preparing for his thrice-daily nap. Didn’t he notice? Weren’t dogs supposed to have a sixth sense for the paranormal? They could predict earthquakes and sniff out cancer, after all. In the movies, dogs always gave early warnings about evil spirits…
And that’s why all the smarter ghosts in those same movies always found some sinister way to get rid of the dog. I scrambled forward and gathered Mustard up into an unhappy, squirming ball, then tried to leap out of bed, only to get caught in the blanket. I tumbled to the ground, and Mustard wriggled free from my arms. Shooting me a wounded look, he trotted from the room.
The bed skirt was blocking my view of the ghost. I sucked in a steadying breath and willed myself to get up. Surely she’d be gone when I stood up again, going for the jump-scare-then-leave kind of haunting. What a great story this would make, narrated by upturned flashlight around a clichéd campfire. I was lying sick in bed, then…
I pushed up from the floor with a groan.
“Fuck!” There she was, blue and muted, though she stood directly in the sunlight beaming through the window. A vague, familiar feeling quivered at the back of my mind…
The ghost was tracking me with her eyes. After a long, silent moment, her lips twitched up into some horrid semblance of a smile. She took a step forward.
“M-Mom?!” But my call was useless reflex only; she’d deemed my fever just low enough to go into work for a few hours, rather than shuttling me to the doctor. I was alone in the house—well, no one else alive was in the house.
You’re hallucinating. Call Mom so she can take you to the hospital. For that must be it—my fever had climbed too high. Yet the ghost looked so real, and I couldn’t help but scan my room for something, anything, to use to fight back. I didn’t keep my room stocked with weaponry, so I settled for the bedside table lamp, yanking the cord from the wall and clutching it baseball bat-style.
Time for the first and likely final showdown between Lanie Adams and Ghost Girl.
But she took another step forward—her sneakers were also some retro style, I noticed—and icy fear rooted me in place. Just a hallucination—a hallucination of a ghost who shops at Goodwill. I drew together my fleeing scraps of courage and poked the lamp toward Ghost Girl’s stomach.
It passed straight through, without even a ripple at the edges. I lurched back, gripping the lamp to my chest like a safety blanket. “Not real,” I whispered, and the ghost frowned at me, as if to say, I beg to differ.
“What do you want?” I managed. My voice was a trembling wreck. Didn’t ghosts usually have some sort of purpose, some wrong to be righted or atrocity to be avenged? She opened her mouth to answer…
The words erupted as a garbled stream of syllables.
Fine, she could have the room; I was willing to vacate. I threw down the lamp and vaulted over the bed, hurtling towards the door—
—Where I leaped straight through another bluish ghost, this one a teenage boy standing right on the threshold.
That was when my hopes that this was all just a hallucination evaporated away. Have you ever taken a bath in a ghost? Suffice it to say that the experience is not pleasant—an aching kind of cold that seeps to the bone in the space of a heartbeat, banishing all memories of warmth. But I didn’t have to endure it for long. White sparks clouded my vision, then the world wavered and contracted to a pinhole.
Want to keep reading? Specter debuts July 7th (this Sunday!) at all major retailers, Hidden Bower Press, and is available to rent for free through Overdrive with your library card!
Specter is a book not to miss. With strong characters who are easy to root for, this captivating, multilayered debut will keep you holding your breath till the very last page.