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Haunting Jordan: 02/21/18
Haunting Jordan by P.J. Alderman is a paranormal mystery set in a Victorian era town in the Pacific Northwest. Jordan Marsh has left Los Angeles for this sleepy town in Washington to avoid the media buzz over the ex-husband's murder. She's bought an old Victorian house and just wants to get settled except that the ghosts who haunt the place want her to solve their murders so they can find closure.
Here's the thing about cold case mysteries. Even if the client is a ghost — or in this example, a pair of ghosts — flashbacks aren't necessary. Flashbacks get in the way of us interacting with the protagonist.
Haunting Jordan, though, is nearly half flashback. The flashbacks start slowly, being quick (and skippable) chapter segues. These things aren't even numbered. They sit outside of the time and space of the chapters where Jordan is actively trying to learn what she can about the first owners of her home.
Even worse, though, the flashbacks obscure the other mystery that's going on. The modern day one. The one we should be asking about. Namely, who killed Jordan's husband. But that tidbit is pushed aside until out of nowhere, a living breathing, now threat to Jordan materializes to be the antagonist of the book since the flashback antagonist is also long since dead and buried.