City of Ghosts – J.H. Moncrieff

Do you believe in ghosts? On spooky nights, many children and perhaps some adults ask this question. If you watch shows like Ghost Hunters, you might be more concerned with the answer. I am of the belief anything is possible. I do not actively believe, but if you tell me a house is haunted, I step with a wary foot.

City of Ghosts is a story shockingly enough, about ghosts! And one unlucky immature man. The story was well-written and engaging. A compelling tale that zipped along. A tale that plants you deep into China. I could tell the author had done her research, as she made sure to tell the tale from a tourist perspective. Well researched and planned out, the story was good, but not perfect.

I had one main issue with the story and keep in mind this was my experience. An experience that tends to be the minority of the readers. The main character, Jackson, an African-American, Jackass loving, childish man in his late 20’s (from what I can tell), decides to stay behind on a trip to a Chinese city. My issue here is the character. While not unlikable, he is annoying in a little brother when are you going to grow up kind-of way. It might not have nagged me so much, except he barely grows. He just is forced to deal with the situations he is in and reacts. As a reader, it would have been better if his age was 16 and it was a school trip, then all my qualms with his characterization would be null. I’m not saying I’ve never met an immature 20-something year old, I just don’t want to read about them. It was a disconnect for me.

Regardless of the character issue, the tale was spooky and a promising example of what else Moncrieff can do. I believe many people will enjoy this tale, especially if you love ghost stories.

You can find the tale on Amazon for 99 cents in Kindle format and $16.99 in paperback.


On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.

Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city when he slips away from the group to spend the night, determined to publish an account of his ghostly experiences there.

Then he meets Yuèhai, a strange, soft-spoken woman who can tell him the city’s secrets—secrets the Chinese government would kill to keep hidden.

As Jackson uncovers the truth about Yuèhai and the ghost city, he’s drawn into a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and murder. He must risk everything to save himself and bring honor back to Yuèhai and her family.


J.H. Moncrieff’s work has been described as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.

She won Harlequin’s search for “the next Gillian Flynn” in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.

When not writing, she loves exploring the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

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OWL Rating:

3 1/2 OWLS due to disconnect with main character.

*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.



This entry was posted by thruthewords.

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