Staged Whispers by Cassandre Dayne
Dylan, Cole and Brandon are three good friends, business partners, and lovers. They met in college and afterwards formed a successful business in Florida. But a ghost from Dylan’s past threatens to destroy him and his relationship with the two men he loves. Cole and Brandon can tell something is wrong, but Dylan shuts out all their attempts to help him.
“Staged Whispers” can probably best be described as a paranormal mystery, with a fair bit of sex thrown in. The degree to which ghosts play a part, or don’t, isn’t revealed until the very end. Mysteries are tricky things. Reveal too much too soon and the reader might lose interest. Hold back too many details for too long and we get frustrated. Getting the balance right is difficult, and this book errs on the side of holding back too much. We know that some deep dark secret is tearing Dylan apart, and that his fears surfaced after receiving an email. Cole eventually sneaks a peek at the email, but its contents are never actually revealed in any detail. We only hear that it’s “cryptic” and “disturbing”. It gets quite frustrating having the promise of a clue dangled in front of you, only to have nothing useful actually revealed.
Everything is made clear in the end, and on the whole it is a rather clever plot. It just isn’t executed up to its full potential. The story is further hampered, and the frustration over the mystery is exacerbated, by a writing style that is overly melodramatic. It promises a lot of deep dark secrets, but doesn’t deliver on them. The secrets that Cole and Brandon are hiding aren’t that big a deal, especially compared to the demon Dylan is carrying around.
Like so many books these days, it’s not that “Staged Whispers” is all that bad. It is an entertaining read, but it’s just that it could have been so much better with a little more effort. The book is available directly from the publisher, Naughty Nights Press.