Bad weather. Unexplained hangings. Pirates.
In this installment of Morgan Brice’s Badlands series, homicide detective Vic and his clairvoyant boyfriend Simon face a new threat–a threat that deals with pirates, vengeful spirits, and a haunted manor. The Rising also focuses on how Simon and Vic’s continually growing relationship, especially how they are stronger together than when they are apart.
When Simon gets a vision of the Gallows Nine being hanged–a group of pirates executed for committing heinous crimes against the public in the 1700s–he learns that they cursed the crowd, demanding vengeance. This curse, Simon also comes to find out, is closely connected to the unexplained deaths of several people, all of whom appear to have committed suicide by hanging themselves.
In an old manor, another case pops up, this time involving several construction workers. The workers are being pestered by the ghosts who are roaming the halls of the old house. When Simon investigates, using his psychic abilities, he senses a very bad energy in the manor. He quickly learns that the bad energy is an angry ghost, the ghost of a man who doesn’t want people finding a specific object hidden within the old building.
As the tension heats up, with bad weather approaching Myrtle Beach, Vic and Simon both race against the clock to crack the new case. The two cases–the deaths, and the angry ghost in the manor–are connected, Simon and Vic must rely on help from the beyond to solve these new mysteries.
Throughout the novel, Vic worries that he won’t be able to keep Simon safe, since his boyfriend deals with so many supernatural beings. Simon also worries about Vic’s safety. Whenever something bad happens, like a car wreck, Vic or Simon immediately think of one another, worrying about each other’s well-being. A particularly intense scene in the novel involves Vic being attacked mentally by a ghost, with Simon rushing home to remove the ghost from Vic’s body.
I really liked these ghost attacks, not because I liked seeing these characters get hurt, but because it was really interesting to see how Simon and Vic dealt with the attacks. Each man responded to the ghost attacks in their own unique ways. Also, these ghost attacks were new to the series, something that hasn’t happened before in previous books.
Something else I enjoyed reading about was Simon’s magic. Seeing Simon enter a room armed with his silver knife and gris gris bags is always really cool. He knows what he’s doing, and even using rote magical spells, Simon still manages to pack a punch against supernatural monsters. I really liked the powerful display of magic towards the end of the book, too. (I’m not gonna spoil it for anyone, but I will say it’s pretty awesome.)
The use of Simon and Vic’s Christmas gifts come in handy, especially when it comes to keeping each other safe. I like the idea of having magical protective gear, which is as useful as the Kevlar vest that Vic gave to Simon. The magical bracelets that each Simon and Vic wear, as well as the magicked pocket square that Vic has all help to protect the couple as they face new supernatural threats.
There’s a lot of cool stuff in this book, new territory that I really enjoyed being covered, like how Vic protects Simon when he collapses after investigating one of the unexplained hangings, or how Simon and Vic deal with the ghost attacks on one another.
At the end of the day, this paranormal fantasy novel focuses on the love that Vic and Simon have for each other. They care deeply about each other, wanting one another to stay safe whenever they go their separate ways investigating paranormal cases. They always come home to each other, which I find really sweet. This book is one of my favorites, one that has a lot of action, a lot of touching scenes, and really cool magic. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal fiction.