Book Review: Sammy Specter, Private Investigator, Public Terror

Title: Sammy Specter, Private Investigator, Public Terror (The Spirit Hauntings)
Author: Avery Spooks / Illustrator: Mariano Epelbaum
Genre: Children’s Books
Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: August 1, 2023
Purchase: Amazon
Disclaimer: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Society of Paranormal, Invisible, and Restless Imps and Terrors has a problem: due to so-called “science,” the living are believing in ghosts less and less. To boost morale, SPIRIT is opening its doors to new members for the first time in centuries. But only the spookiest recruits will get to join the undead’s most esteemed organization.

For Sammy Specter, this is the chance of a lifetime-er, deathtime. In life, Sammy had been a famed detective until his partner stole the credit that was rightfully his. In death, Sammy plans to be your worst nightmare-and to put his old partner back in his place. But when Sammy meets third grader and tech wizard Shayla Wilkerson, all his plans seem to fall apart. Has this terror finally met his match?

Sammy Specter, Private Investigator, Public Terror is the first book in The Spirit Hauntings series. The story contains some wonderful and imaginative illustrations that bring the story to life.

As for the story itself, Sammy Specter is a ghost who longs to become a member of SPIRIT: the Society of Paranormal, Invesible and Restless Imps and Terrors. However, due to “science”, the living are believing in ghosts less and less. And even if they do believe, they’re not scared of phantoms anymore. So, SPIRIT has decided to open its doors to new members for the first time in centuries, but on one condition. In order to be able to join SPIRIT, you need to terrify the living.

Sammy starts on a quest to terrify a third-grader called Shayla Wilkerson. But as Shayla is a veritable tech wizard, he may have chosen the wrong girl to spook.

I liked the premise of the story, but the execution fell a little flat for me. I’m all for suspending disbelief and having Shayla be a tech wizard at her tender age, but it needs to be consistent. Sometimes she seemed to know everything there is to know, building her own pc at age four, writing apps, etc. and other times, she just seemed totally clueless. One moment, she seemed scared of Sammy, and the next moment, she couldn’t care less.

Despite that, I still liked the story and I’m pretty sure the intended audience will love it too. It’s definitely not too scary, and it contains a good message, especially for the tech-crazy generation of kids nowadays.


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