I was attracted to this book because the summary mentioned an unusual mix of a crime thriller that was horse-centric with a paranormal element, which gave it a very unique appeal. I am not sure, however, that the book knew quite what it was trying to deliver, as for me the elements didn’t quite blend.

The story starts quite well with Rosetta, who forms part of the Elite Paranormal Intelligence Service (EPIS), having a vision foretelling a horse rider being mowed down by a car. She attempts to make contact to warn Juliet, the Olympic rider, but it is in vain. Juliet lives but her horse and a young rider, Isobelle, who was out with her both die.

The regular police force take the lead with the investigation, with the support of Rosetta and her virtual team. There is good layering within the plot and a focus on a number of characters that are involved, and so to be fair it had all the right ingredients but it just wasn’t executed that well. Some of the issue was the dialogue – it was so twee, it was often painful to read. Juliet is completely focused on the death of the horse and the impact of a young girl’s death whilst she is was under her supervision is too sparely referred to, and this and the impact needed to be fleshed out far more. The affair Juliet has was hard to totally buy into – just a fling would have been enough – soul mates that weren’t made this aspect a bit OTT. The paranormal element had the potential to have a strong and influential component, but felt more of an add on – a bit of a bolted-on side story that consequently lost its impact. I was disappointed by this. The relationship between Rosetta and Rav didn’t feel a good/credible fit either.

There is a nice balance with some humour, and the story does have a good pace. There are parts when the book does engage and find its groove, which was then enjoyable. It’s not an awful book, but there were just too many clunky elements that meant I couldn’t rate the book that highly.

Sara Garland 2/3

Spirit of Prophecy by J.J. Hughes
9781999586799 pbk Jun 2018