Haunting Jordan (Port Chatham Series #1)

( 78 )

Overview

RITA-nominated author P. J. Alderman weaves present-day supernatural sleuthery with nineteenth-century intrigue in the first book of an enchanting new mystery series set in picturesque Port Chatham, Washington.

Jordan Marsh left L.A. for the quaint Pacific Northwest town of Port Chatham in pursuit of some much-needed R & R. As the prime suspect in her cheating husband’s murder, she had been hoping to immerse herself in the restoration of the charming Victorian she’d just ...

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Haunting Jordan (Port Chatham Series #1)

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Overview

RITA-nominated author P. J. Alderman weaves present-day supernatural sleuthery with nineteenth-century intrigue in the first book of an enchanting new mystery series set in picturesque Port Chatham, Washington.

Jordan Marsh left L.A. for the quaint Pacific Northwest town of Port Chatham in pursuit of some much-needed R & R. As the prime suspect in her cheating husband’s murder, she had been hoping to immerse herself in the restoration of the charming Victorian she’d just bought—and put all talk of homicide investigations behind her. But as she soon discovers, the coldest of cases cry out to be solved, too.

For this old house comes fully furnished—with two garrulous ghosts who have a century-old murder of their own they’d like her to look into. Now, if Jordan can keep the L.A. police at bay, and sort through a suspect list of shady characters circa 1890, she might just clear a wrongly accused man’s name—and her own.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Mixing the supernatural with the mystery is not unusual, but it is unusual to see it done well…Alderman goes for the slightly wacky, charming approach, and pulls it off brilliantly.”  —Bookgasm
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553592108
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Series: Port Chatham Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 280,052
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

P. J. Alderman has lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than twenty-five years. She is the author of A Killing Tide, a RITA finalist for Best First Book, as well as Phantom River. After spending several years on Oregon’s North Coast, she now lives in Washington State with her family. P. J. Alderman is currently at work on her next Port Chatham mystery.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Port Chatham, Washington June, present day Jordan Marsh stood in the middle of the street, staring aghast at her new home. Across twelve feet of uneven pavement and a weed-choked patch of lawn sat Longren House, the nineteenth-century Queen Anne she’d bought on what could only be described as—though she normally tried to avoid the term—an insane whim.

Crisp air, washed clean from last night’s rain, brought into sharp relief decorative tracery hanging askew from the domed turret. Bright sun highlighted chunks of paint peeling from the columns of the wraparound porch that—she tilted her head—sagged. Behind a railing missing every third baluster, a broken swing had been shoved against the front bay window, which sported an ugly crack running diagonally its entire length.

Holy God. I don’t even own a hammer.

While she’d been going through the inevitable hassles of closing down her therapy practice in Los Angeles and packing to move, Longren House had been a daily reminder of the new life she’d planned for herself. A simpler, quieter life—an antidote to the hell she’d lived through for the last year. A fantasy of peaceful, solitary days spent wallpapering a few rooms, perhaps rehanging the porch swing she’d always dreamed of owning.

What on earth had she been thinking? That watching a few reruns of This Old House qualified her to handle a historic-home remodel?

She counted the faded colors gracing the exterior, punctuating each numeral with a fingertip pointed mid?air at a section of siding, or what was left of it. “Thirteen goddamn colors of paint!” Just the thought of matching such a color scheme in modern paints had her light-headed.

A huge, shaggy dog lying in front of the door raised its head and grinned at her, tail thumping, looking for all the world as if it belonged there. And for a brief moment, she could envision the house as she’d dreamed it would look after it was refurbished. “Like a real home,” she murmured. “With a front porch swing for visiting neighbors and a friendly dog.”

A door slammed down the block, and a dark-haired man wearing a cable-knit sweater and jeans jogged down the front steps of the house on the corner. Zeroing in on the tray of coffee cups he balanced in one hand, she recalled that in her haste to hit the road, she hadn’t stopped for her requisite morning cup.

Local Man Assaulted by Caffeine-Deprived Lunatic

If she gave in to impulse, that’s what tomorrow morning’s newspaper headlines would read. Not, she reminded herself firmly, that she was a person who typically gave in to impulses.

Caffeinated beverages notwithstanding, though, he looked . . . interesting. Broad shoulders, and a confident, ground-eating stride. Definitely . . .

She gave herself a shake. Nope. Gazing was not in the cards. According to her Four-Point Plan for Personal Renewal, gazing was on hold for at least six months. Then she could look but not touch for another six. She’d laid it all out, written it all down. She had a plan, and she was sticking to it. Remodel first.

As soon as she bought a hammer. And a paintbrush or three.

She forced her attention back to her house. Leaning forward on her toes, she squinted to see whether lack of focus improved it. The driver of an approaching car tapped its horn, evidently afraid she would fling herself into its oncoming path.

The idea had merit.

Okay, so the house needed a little work. But she’d fallen in love with that crazy witch’s cap perched atop the turret, the arched entryway and the gingerbread trim, the utter wackiness of its architecture. She didn’t care whether it tumbled down around her—for the first time in her life, she had a real home.

Complete with a dog, it seemed.

“Nice bones.”

Her head whipped around. Her new neighbor stood just a few feet away.

He gestured with the tray. “The house,” he clarified in a deep baritone, smiling slightly, his blue eyes crinkling at the corners. “One of the few examples of stick-built Queen Anne architecture left standing in Port Chatham. She’s a real beauty, isn’t she?”

Jordan frowned. Even with the aid of fuzzy focus, the house wasn’t yet close to a “beauty.” But, hey, maybe he was an architect who recognized potential.

The aroma of fresh-roasted coffee and steamed milk wafted over her, and her eyes crossed.

“Can I ask what your interest is in her?” he asked.

“What? Oh.” Jordan cleared her throat. “I bought her.”

“Ah.” He looked squarely at Jordan, not concealing his curiosity. Up close, his face was rugged and lived-in . . . and appealing. “You must be the psychologist from Los Angeles.”

Her surprise must have shown on her face.

“Sorry.” He shrugged, smiling sheepishly. “Small towns and all that.” He extended a hand. “Jase Cunningham.”

“Jordan Marsh.” His grip was warm and firm.

“So you’ll be setting up shop here in town?”

“No, at least, not right away.” Perhaps not ever, though she wasn’t admitting that yet, even to herself. “I’m taking a year off to work on the house.”

“You’re planning to fix her up?”

She nodded.

“Good.”

“I need to buy a hammer,” she blurted out.

He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “The purchase of a hammer is a symbolic act. It is not to be taken lightly.”

She narrowed her gaze. Okay, scratch architect. Maybe he was one of those artisans who worked on historic homes. Maybe he had a lot of hammers. Maybe he named them.

He came to some kind of conclusion with a nod. “Talk to Ed at Renovation Hardware out on the highway, and tell him I sent you. He’ll get you set up properly.”

“Um, thanks.”

He pried one of the cups from its holder and handed it to her. She clutched it with both hands, giving him a look of such profound gratitude that he grinned. “You seem a little shell-shocked—it’s the least I can do. Welcome to the neighborhood.”

“Thanks again.”

He waved a hand as he started down the street.

“Hey,” she yelled, and he turned back, raising an eyebrow. “Do you know who owns the dog?”

“Nope. Never seen him before.”

*
• *

Jordan watched for a moment longer, then shook her head. Four-Point Plan for Personal Renewal. Time to review the salient points.

As she walked over to her Toyota Prius, she took a sip of the coffee, which she discovered was an excellent latte. The man obviously knew his java. Shifting the cup to her left hand, she opened the trunk and hauled out her bag.

The hairs on the back of her neck suddenly rose, and she glanced around. The neighborhood of turn-of-the-twentieth-century homes seemed unusually deserted, the street empty and desolate with its cracked pavement and faded markings. Why weren’t more people outside, taking advantage of the fine summer day?

She studied the vacant windows of the surrounding houses, keeping her expression nonchalant. No doubt a neighbor was watching her from inside one of them. After all, this was a small town—people were bound to be curious about the recently widowed psychologist moving to their neighborhood.

From the foliage of the maple tree, a songbird trilled enthusiastically, mocking her uneasiness. Shrugging, she gripped the handle of her bag and rolled it across the uneven lawn, banging it up the front steps.

The dog scrambled to its feet, ears perked. It had the black and tan coloring of a German shepherd, but its blocky build and thick, shaggy hair reminded her of a much larger breed. Definitely a classic mutt. A very large male mutt. She held out her hand for him to sniff.

Setting her bag down, she hunted through her pockets for the key the real estate agent had given her. After several tries, the lock gave with a screech and the beveled-glass door swung inward.

She looked down at the dog. “Excuse me.”

He cocked his head.

“Shoo?” She wiggled her fingers, and when that had no effect, she managed to look stern. “Go home!”

He didn’t budge.

She sighed. “I absolutely cannot get attached to you—someone owns you, I’m sure of it. I’m not letting you inside.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 78 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2011

    delightful read

    PJ Alderman has created a fun, textured, suspenseful tale in Haunting Jordan. The heroine thinks she has moved to a sleepy town to restart her life and restore her soul. She's had a long year, dead husband, suspicion of murder, and the purchase of a new house where the old inhabitants haven't quite left yet. Before Jordan can work on herself or her new house, she has other much more pressing work to do.

    A fun mix of past, present, ghosts, a therapist who thinks she might need therapy, and a hunky pub owner. Not to mention the seminars the spirits attend to develop their special skills.

    They say there is no rest for the wicked, the weary, or even the un-dead.

    A delightful read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Definitely Recommend

    A friend of mine told me about this book and I am so glad she did. I love the ghosts entwined in the story and the way the author takes you back and forth from the past to the present. A good read that I definitely recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    Fun romp

    Loved this, wish there were more than 2 in the series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    This was such an interesting book! It made you want to keep read

    This was such an interesting book! It made you want to keep reading to find out what happened next. It had it all. I loved it.

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  • Posted July 14, 2012

    fun times

    ghosts, crazy architecture, murder old and new, what more can you ask for in a great summer read

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  • Posted June 2, 2012

    A Really Haunting Novel of Ghosts and Murder

    Haunting Jordan is an excellent novel of suspense with a twist of the past with Ghosts and murder plots in and Old Sea town setting. It is well written and will keep you attention throughout. P.J. Alderman's novel Ghost series combines suspense with the supernatural. Highly recommended reading.

    Carl Hardy

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  • Posted May 19, 2012

    Very entertaining reading

    This story is a lighter look at paranormal activity and I enjoyed it very much. Just the right amount of mystery and romance to make it a good one.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't put this one down!

    A co-worker introduced me to the Alderman series. I breezed through Haunting Jordan (and Ghost Ship), and can’t wait for a next book. I love the way the author manages to blend humor, romance, mystery, ghosts, vivid descriptions and a Victorian seaside town setting—I felt as though I was roaming the contemporary streets as well as the 1800’s waterfront of Port Chatham, Washington.

    Alderman’s ability to combine all of these elements successfully into this page turner reminds me very much of the books by Antoinette Stockenberg that I have recently read (A Month at the Shore, Beloved, A Charmed Place) which take place on the New England coast. Both authors have the gift of stirring all of the elements into a book you can’t put down!

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  • Posted April 23, 2012

    Totally enjoable!

    Fun and charming characters and a good story line. Good combo of suspence, humor, and romance. You have to be willing to suspend reality, but that's one of the best things about books. You aren't in your "real world." Let go & ENJOY!

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Great book. Would recommend for everyone to read.

    This book keeps you on the edge of your seat and it leaves you wanting more when you are finished.

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  • Posted February 20, 2012

    Thoroughly enjoyable

    Fast moving & well written

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Wanted to like this book so much!

    I, like a few others I see on here, really wanted to like this book. In the beginning I was riveted, but there are big, big flaws. I am going to talk about some of them, but be warned there are spoilers.

    First off, the way the author flips across time is ineffective at best, and disheartening to the reader at worst. As soon as something really exciting happens to Jordan we are darting back to the late 1800's to be wit Haddy... And vice versa. This prevented me from ever feeling like I got payoff.

    The ghosts seem to lack personality, and I'm not sure if this was a (bad) choice by the author, or simply a sign that she had trouble writing them. When Haddy and her sister are alive they are full of personality, but as ghosts they seem like a hollow device. Where has Haddy's determination and intelligence gone? Charlotte's energy?

    I could list more, but large structural problems like this ruined what could have been an amazing story. Such a bummer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    Great read!

    Really enjoyed the play between past and present. Perfect blend of mystery, history,and romantic tension. Had a hard time putting it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Entertaining

    Couldnt put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Excellent!

    Romance, suspense and humor all in one. Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2011

    good read

    The juxtaposition of a modern day mystery with the solving of an old one is an interesting conceit. The addition of visible, active ghosts, while a little fantastical, adds levity to the story. I must admit, however, that I rushed through the old mystery in order to return to the present day. I enjoyed the book enough so that I am about to embark on "Ghost Ship," the next in Alderman's Port Chatham series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    CANT PUT DOWN

    This was an easy read and kept you wanting to see what happened next.

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    LOVED IT! An excellent read!

    This book kept me up very, very late on a weeknight because I just couldn't put it down. What a fun, entertaining story with great characters and a wonderful plot. I love the interaction between Jordan and her visitors, her new dog, and the unique and interesting townsfolk of Port Chatham. I love how the author runs the modern day mystery alongside of the century old mystery. Not only did I have a great time reading the book, I also learned some interesting history lessons along the way. Bonus! If you like mystery, humor, paranormal, and suspense all wrapped up with a hint of romance, you'll love this book. I'm off to buy book 2 in the series now--Ghost Ship. But before I read it, I must sleep just a little...

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Love this book!!!!!!!

    I love how it takes to the past and to the present. LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    Awesome book!!! 5 STARS

    this was an awesome book. i will read everything by pj alderman.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews

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