Dan’s Hauntastic Haunts Investigates: Goodman Dairy

3 Stars

So I bought this one a while back and as I’m old and my brain refuses to work like it did 20 years ago I don’t know how I came across it. That being said I like a good ghost story, so I went into this with high expectations. To be fair, it started off fairly well. I was in it but I had a few reservations about it. The story was good so I was merely holding on to those to see how they panned out. Ultimately this story ended up just being okay.

Both characters started off extremely likeable. Especially Dan. Chad’s sister needed more page time though. She was all sorts of awesome. Also, Chad’s character dynamic was handled well. The flow of the book was easy so no problems there. Unfortunately for me the issue I had as I got further into it was I got less interested in reading it.

My first issue was that Dan came across as a bit of a fraud. Even when I liked the book he clearly states he’s about helping ghosts find closure and move on yet he has zero Medium skills. Not even basic ones. How is he helping them move on without physically contacting them and actively trying to get them to the next plane? So he just shows up, hopes for ghost activity and just magically hopes that they will leave the place they are haunting? This becomes evident in the middle of the book when he has to call a well-known medium who, rightfully judges him, and Dan himself says he feels like an imposter. This was literally riding on my mind the entire time when I was most interested and once interest waned that he’s a ghost hunter with no skillset on actually expelling ghosts. I’m surprised he’s alive. And, most importantly, it says a lot about his character that he doesn’t care enough to take the advice of real mediums, or be on good terms with one for serious encounters, or at the very least know enough to stay alive long enough to contact someone with more expertise. Someone with whom he has built a good relationship by proving he’s serious about ghosts, hauntings, and closure.

That aside Chad was fine. Him not believing in ghosts, also fine. When it started to slowly fall apart for me was the constant need to directly tell me he didn’t believe. It would’ve set a lot better if gradually by events happening, he started to question his beliefs instead of outright deniability every time. Instead, it literally takes one big incident and suddenly ghosts are real. Almost like the progression up to it before that wasn’t important. In which case we could’ve just gone for the shock reveal to begin with.

The romance didn’t really take off. This book definitely reads a lot about how to successfully run a YouTube channel. There are even bits explaining the ghost hunting gear which are fun. But overall, the scenes don’t really do anything to bring the characters together. Most times when all of this is going on it’s very business. Dan is explaining stuff and Chad is learning stuff. Or Chad is organising meetings and things and Dan is confirming. Research is being done and things are being found out, this part is fine because we need to know more about the ghost, however, since so much of the book is spent doing things for the vlog, when we do get those side comments of them checking each other out it’s very brief and always ends with but I can’t he’s my boss, but I can’t he’s my employee, and it’s back to business. The chance to use all the above-mentioned stuff as ways to build up some romantic tension wasn’t big enough. It definitely felt all about the YouTube channel and the Ghost which is fine, but the payoff for the relationship didn’t come because it was like they just woke up one day and said yeah let’s date.

That being said, in almost every chapter the start of with either Chad or Dan thinking about each other in romantic and steamy ways and then saying they can’t because of their working relationship and this would happen within the first few paragraphs. Sometimes multiple times within the chapters too. The ‘I can’t because’ got to a point where I almost stopped reading one time. If you think the other is hot just enjoy your fantasy guilt-free. Constantly being reminded of this every few pages or so got grating, especially because this, like I said above, led to the attraction never really breathing through and the ‘how to’ vibe of the book shun pretty bright as a consequence.

And I am not a fan of insta-love. Chad gets a call from his sister, Dan confronts him about it at breakfast in a smooth playful kind of way and next thing we are making rules for dating and planning a first date. Then the date gets into more Vlog stuff, creatures of habit, but it stays for too long before one of them says no more work stuff. I’m thinking oh finally first date fun flirtations is coming. But nope. They eat in salience and then make out in the parking lot. Sigh. After all this waiting nothing actually happened. I’ve been on a few food dates, you definitely do talk while eating so this was a missed opportunity to finally let them embrace their attraction for each other in a nonsexual way.

Another reason this didn’t work is that after the scene in the van before they head back to the farm a discussion about oral sex happens. This, as far as getting to know each other goes, felt like a stall. After waiting so long and not getting a connection at dinner, we have some steamy action and it’s now the time for a serious conversation? This definitely felt more like dinner or the morning after type of talk. It just seemed odd placement to me. And when you add that to the fact that once back at the farm this very night is when Chad gets definitive proof ghost exists with a near-death experience it becomes even more odd. So this entire sequence of events can be summed up with a dinner date all about work, then an awkwardly placed serious conversation about sex, and then a near-death experience with Chad. All adding up to getting just past half a book and the ‘Romance’ that has finally begun actually hasn’t begun.

This is where it gets more interesting. Back to the Dan paragraph, his ineptitude finally comes to light. The next day someone almost dies which forces him to call a medium, who is too busy to come out but at least offers help, and she says it’s high time he learns the basics of ghost expelling. I can’t lie, I hard agreed with her. None of this, even the attack on Chad, would’ve happened if he were a legitimate ghost hunter. And then, with all his expertise on ghosts, he goes unprotected into another situation with the ghost and almost gets them both killed. Sigh. Plotwise he needed to talk to the ghost, but even the dimmest of people would take precautions when this ghost had a history dating back decades of trying to kill people.

This is where my opinion of Chad started to wane a bit more.

He is travelling with a ghost hunter who routinely injures himself. So he knows this job is dangerous. Secondly, the ghost tried to attack him and almost killed someone else. I can’t wrap my head around how he is even a teeny bit shocked that Dan is super excited about this. He is one of Dan’s followers and biggest patrons. This is Dan’s entire life. It’s so odd that he’s mad Dan is excited to be almost killed by a ghost, even if it could’ve been prevented. If he was mad from the fact that he didn’t think he could put his own life in danger like this and needed time to think about the real existence of ghosts I would’ve been much on board with this. But he says I don’t want my boyfriend out there endangering his life and… I’m just going to stop there. Boyfriend? They went on one semi date that ended with his full indoctrination into the reality of ghosts. That does not a full, it takes months to get to know each other relationship make. To be fair Dan called him his boyfriend quite literally the next day after the first date so I was already not on board with this. This instance just specifically felt like the wrong angle to take. Even though Chad was right, as I have stated above that Dan is negligent and basically a fraud, it’s the reasoning behind why he is mad that is odd. I don’t think Chad would not be smart enough to understand after so long following him that this would indeed excite Dan. If anything he should’ve expected this response.

And, they break up. This was an eventful week or less than a week. And considering the first date was essentially a wash there wasn’t anything for me to emotionally invest in this breakup. It hadn’t even begun yet for this type of big drama piece. And, before this, there was a little bit about Chad being mad his mother had moved on. He didn’t even believe in ghosts and in 24hrs his mother should’ve stuck around so he could get closure. The very essence of lingering ghosts is that they have unfinished business so it being about his unfinished business felt so wrong. It was an awkward plot choice and seemed like the book was trying to force me to have some big connection to this part of his life but the whole story was literally about Dan being a ghost hunter and him not believing so this complete 180 into being upset a ghost he didn’t believe in yesterday had moved on was really strange.

Also to be fair the book does talk about his relationship with his mother. So it wasn’t that I didn’t know beforehand it was more that based on Chad’s character it’s hard to believe that one real encounter and his first suddenly has him so hardcore believing in ghosts that his mother shouldn’t have left him and lingered behind.

This book was, I think one reader said, very technical. Until all the end drama it is very clean. Very little typos. Things just happened, and the one thing that did sort of progress well, the haunting plotline, got dropped at the end for the sudden insta-love angle and the reconnecting of Chad with his mother when he hasn’t even believed in ghosts for more than a minute. A really nice plot of murder and vengeance and betrayal came out of it and I was so ready for some sort of fall out with the Dairy farm owners as it was revealed they knew what actually happened. That was drama I was here for but the vanquishing opted to just trick the ghost away and leaned more on the Chad and Dan reconciling and getting back together end. Sigh. I honestly am just realising that for a book that was easy to read and mostly grammatically sound I had a lot of issues with the delivery, plot, and character choices. And, in the end, it could be just because I’m not well learned but on a few occasions, words popped up that felt like ‘in theory this is the right word but’. Almost like a similar word was looked up to replace a more common word. One that on its own had about the same meaning but in the context of the sentence didn’t quite fit.

Overall, this book was okay but for me, the constant reminders of why they couldn’t work was off-putting. Not finding a way to use all the lessons on how to run a Vlog as character development and relationship development pieces didn’t allow the romance side plot to take off and made this an insta romance and equally quick breakup, (probably the fasted I have ever seen from start of relationship to end) hard to invest into. And then the too many emotional things thrown in at the end that didn’t fit the plotline set up beforehand were odd. The really good ghost plot reveal got side-lined for the ending that was full of quick insta type material also was a letdown. It was an okay book that started off with my interest piqued but ultimately couldn’t hold that heightened interest to the end.

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