A White Crow Mystery

Fiction - Supernatural
284 Pages
Reviewed on 03/28/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Trisha Slay grew up in a haunted house ... now she writes about restless spirits.

When she's not hunched over a computer, she enjoys hiking with her husband and rescue dogs, hunting down new ghost stories, exploring historic cemeteries, sampling red wine, and flying her Star Wars geek flag.

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite

Unhaunted is the first book in the White Crow Mystery series by Trisha Slay, and what a start it is! The fact that the author herself was brought up in a haunted house adds to the credibility of the overall appeal of the book. Asha is a fifteen-year-old girl who, like her mother, Xia Celeste, can see and communicate with the dead. If the cops require a push in the right direction in solving any case, they knock on Xia Celeste's door. Asha had made a promise to her dad, who has been missing for several months, not to be involved in her mother's psychic activities; however, one day when she hears the pleas of help from a dead girl named Ivy Brennan, and witnesses her mom misdirecting the cops, knowingly or not, she could not help but get involved. This incident sows the seeds of suspicion in her mind against her mom's ability to actually hear and see the dead. On one hand she is struggling with her dilemma to help or ignore the ghost of Ivy and, on the other hand, she is disoriented about her mom being a potential fraud. No matter how hard she tries, Ivy is reluctant to leave Asha alone. Now, Asha must make a choice either to help Ivy get justice or keep the promise that she made to her missing father.

There are a few basic parameters which help me decide whether I love a book or hate it: my connection with the characters, enough twists to keep me hooked, my curiosity to find out the climax, and fascinating storytelling. Unhaunted by Trisha Slay landed on all of these parameters. The characters are full of strengths, weaknesses, and all things human. Xia Celeste, for instance, is a complex character whom one cannot understand instantly. I loved her, hated her, and loved to hate her. Asha, though just a kid, is full of wisdom beyond her years and yet she is as vulnerable as one would expect a kid to be. The thought that her mother could be a fraud psychic terrifies her to the core. Her heart aches for her father, who promised to be back one way or another, but there is nothing she can do to bring him back. There is so much going on in her life that I, as a reader, found myself wishing for her happy ending. Although Unhaunted is a paranormal mystery, the murder mystery genre stole the show. The supernatural element is more of a guiding factor (as in steering the plot towards the murderer and leaving breadcrumbs here and there) than creating chilling horror. I loved this book a lot and enjoyed every moment of solving the murder mystery with Asha.

Ruffina Oserio

Asha Kidwell has had an unusual upbringing; raised among spirits, she is used to ghosts. Her mother is gifted with the ability to communicate with the dead, until the moment Asha discovers that the great Xia Celeste could be a psychic fraud. Her father has warned her to stay away from her mother’s crusade, but then she witnesses something strange: Xia Celeste is giving wrong information about a girl who has just been murdered and this could send detectives on a wild goose chase. So, to protect her mother, she intervenes, because the ghost of Ivy Brennan is just there in her bedroom, begging for justice. Follow her as she embarks on an investigation fraught with clues and a mirage of memories she must decipher. Now, she must stop a killer, and the path is treacherous, leading her to the one place she could never have imagined. And who really is her mother?

Unhaunted: A White Crow Mystery by Trisha Slay is emotionally intense and a roller coaster ride on a great and fast wave. The reader is quickly introduced to the paranormal events in the life of the protagonist — and the narrative is awesome in her voice. I was pulled in by the clarity of expression and the poetic nature of the prose. The writing is loaded with powerful images, and the author succeeds in creating a beautiful intersection between the spirit world and the world of mortals. I loved the prose above all, and the impeccable language which conjures up words that readers can feel, such as when the protagonist describes the shadow lurking in her room as a “roiling, boiling sort of gloom.” Trisha Slay’s novel is fast-paced, and the characters in Unhaunted: A White Crow Mystery are sophisticated, real, and compelling.

Lit Amri

When Asha Kidwell’s mother-the famous psychic detective Xia Celeste-gave the police false information about a murdered girl named Ivy Brennan, 15-year-old Asha made a decision to help Ivy's ghost get justice for her death. Little did she know that her decision would uncover shocking secrets and lead her down to a dangerous path. Unhaunted (A White Crow Mystery) by Trisha Slay gives readers intriguing insight into the world of the supernatural, mediums and spiritualism. Fraud mediums are nothing new. There is even an interesting reference to Leonora Piper, an infamous American trance medium in the early 20th century, a subject of intense interest and investigation by American and British psychic research associations during that time.

But what about the ones that can really speak to spirits and genuinely want to help the souls seeking justice for their tragic deaths? Asha is definitely a rare white crow in the psychic world. The story also focuses on the relationship between Asha and her abusive mother, her absent father, and her Aunt Nicole's murder. Asha had a rough life, so it was easy for me to root for this young character especially when she showed admirable perseverance. There were some lighter moments in this dark story. I found the ghost nurse hilarious when she thought Asha was dying and tried to help her. An intriguing premise, a solid plot, diverse and well-developed characters make Unhaunted an engaging read from start to finish. I look forward to the continuation of the story.

Liz Konkel

Unhaunted by Trisha Slay is A White Crow Mystery. Asha has spent her whole life around spirits, as her mother, the glamorous psychic Xia Celeste, stands in the spotlight after using her psychic gifts to solve crimes for the police. Asha's high regard for her mother's abilities quickly disappear when she overhears her mother lying to Detective LeShawna Simmons over the case of a missing teenage girl named Ivy Brennan. Asha made a promise to her father never to get involved in her mother's business, but she can't sit by and watch false information lead the police astray. Besides, the ghost of Ivy Brennan won't leave her be until she helps. Asha makes the biggest decision of her life when she shares vital information which sparks a chain reaction that changes her life.

Trisha Slay has a gritty style that pulls you into this ghostly world. Unhaunted is a ghost story with a modern twist as Asha's mother basically lives for the spotlight with reality TV, Twitter, and media coverage. Her mother is obsessed with how the media portrays her and she's almost rooted in this image. This is a serious story which covers a range of emotional topics including child abuse, sex trafficking, and prostitution. It's not a light or easy read at times, but Unhaunted handles every topic sincerely and with a great deal of respect and thought. Slay weaves together various threads to make one complex mystery, which starts rooted in Asha's investigation of her mother's potential fraud abilities, but explores the deeper mystery of Ivy's murder, and a brief connection to the death of Asha's aunt. The relationship between Asha and her stepbrother is a sweet spot in the story as, even though he lives far away, he's still protective of her and watches over her the best he can. Asha is a strong protagonist, full of emotion and vulnerability, with her youth and deeply empathetic heart perfectly captured in her voice. Unhaunted unveils a poignant mystery in a gritty modern setting with a heartbreaking ghostly connection and a journey into bravery.

Susan Sewell

A reticent fifteen-year-old psychic's ability is made public when a teenage girl disappears in the breathtaking supernatural novel Unhaunted (A White Crow Mystery) by Trisha Slay. Asha has the same innate paranormal talents that run on both sides of her family; she can see and hear the spirits of people who have passed on. She is also the daughter of the celebrated psychic, Xia Celeste. One day, when Asha returns from school, she finds her mother consulting with a police officer about Ivy, a missing teenage girl. Ivy's angry spirit is swirling in the corner, screaming at them. Asha is stunned when she hears her mother inform the officer that Ivy is still alive and has probably run off with friends. Has her mother lost her ability? Or is she the fraud that some are claiming her to be? Uncertain about interfering, but pressured by Ivy's agitated demands for help, Asha steps in and gives the officer a hint to the location of Ivy's body. This is the beginning of a new life for Asha. Caught between the wills of Xia and Ivy, Asha is now confronted with complications that go far beyond typical teenage dilemmas. Being forced into the limelight and with the murderer at large, how can Asha manage to stay behind the scenes? And because she is no longer anonymous, will she become Ivy's killer's next victim?

Suspense abounds in the spellbinding supernatural novel Unhaunted (A White Crow Mystery) by Trisha Slay. This is an exhilarating page-turner where nothing is as it seems. Throughout the whole book, I wondered who the real villain in the story is; Ivy's killer or Asha's mother, Xia. The tension escalates from the beginning with the conflict between Asha, Xia, and Ivy's ghost and intensifies to an astounding conclusion. The story has a sound plot and a thrilling story line. I was impressed with the complexity and solidity of the characters; Xia's role, in particular, is very convoluted and adds a brilliant twist to the stunning plot. I believe that this book will captivate paranormal fans from teens to adults.