Three Heart Echo by Keary Taylor ended up on my reading list by yet another mislabeling on NetGalley, I must admit. As seen in the title image above, the book is a paranormal suspense. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll no doubt guess that I grabbed it from the horror genre titles. Fortunately, after revisiting its cover I can at least say that its actual genre is the right one. While Three Heart Echo does have some elements of horror, it reads more like a paranormal-themed Lifetime movie.
Taking place soon after the death of Jack Caraway, Three Heart Echo tells the story of two vastly different people meeting and, you guessed it, falling in love. It’s not that simple though, and several of the more twisted things that one might expect from a horror novel surface throughout the plot. Iona Faye, a frail woman mourning the death of her fiance, seeks out Sully Whitmore, a man rumored to be able to speak to the dead. Together, the two unravel the darkness of Jack’s past while racing against time to unravel not one, but two curses.
The plot is fairly linear, with only one unexpected twist at the end. That twist defines much of the book though, and I have to admit that I actually felt anger flare up within me. I’ve gotta give Taylor kudos for that one. What I don’t like, besides the heavily romantic subplot, is the fact that, as readers see in many romance books, we’re dealing with two Mary Sue characters. Iona is described as a beautiful fawn whilst Sully is a giant Viking of a man. Catch my drift? Oh, and poor dead Jack? Apparently, he’s a stunner too.
While the plot is straightforward, Taylor also alternates between perspectives on chapters. Now, as a reader, you may think I mean she goes back and forth between past and present. It’s common enough when we read books, after all. Unfortunately, what I mean is that Taylor switches between perspectives of Sully and Iona. For the most part, the switches follow a pattern. There is some story overlap/repetition within those shifts, but it isn’t terrible. What perturbs me about these perspectives is that every now and then, there’s a break to the pattern where it may take some readers a moment to realize that the book has suddenly shifted to the past without warning.
Back to the romance side of things, there are far too many cliches. Poor, helpless main character gets an indescribable pain in their chest and they can’t fathom why it feels like their heart races when they look upon their love interest. As if that’s not bad enough, you know from the get-go that there’s going to be a love story involved. It’s not well enough to leave it a paranormal suspense, we might as well make it a romance too. Because y’know, two attractive people can’t simply be friends!
Speaking of chest pain, there’s another thing about this book that absolutely irked me. I could understand if one character had an odd need to count things. It happens and OCD is a real thing; but, what I’m referring to, is the need by both characters to take exactly five steps, to blink four times, to wait for three heartbeats before they do something so much as take a breath.
Finally, what the hell is a grand opus? The actual term is magnum opus. I’lll hope it was just a typo that was fixed in the final, published copy of the Three Heart Echo. Overall, the story itself is engaging to a degree, but it definitely wasn’t my style. I think it belongs more in the paranormal romance genre than it does horror.
I’d like to thank NetGalley and the author for providing me with a free copy for the purpose of review.