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BOOK TOUR: The Beached Ones - a ghost story

The Beached Ones by Colleen M. Story

Genre: General Fiction, Paranormal

Published July 2022, 400 pages

Thanks for visiting today for the Book Blog Tour for The Beached Ones, sponsored by Lola's Blog Tours.

The blurb from the jacket:

He came back, determined to keep his promise.

Daniel and his younger brother grew up in an abusive home. Daniel escaped. Now an established stunt rider, he intends to go back to rescue his brother. But then one jump goes horribly wrong . . . He recovers to find himself in Iowa, unscathed, yet his life has drastically changed. His best friend won’t answer his calls. Even his girlfriend is hiding something. Increasingly terrified, he clings to the one thing he knows: He must pick up his brother in San Francisco. In five days.

From the isolating fields of Iowa to the crowded streets of San Francisco, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.

FIRST SENTENCE: "Daniel A. Shepard would have been lost forever had not the lighthouse beam brought him back to life."

MAIN CHARACTERS: Daniel (17 years old) and his little brother Tony (9 years old); Jolene, the ex-girlfriend; Brent, her traveling companion


The story covers about a year in the lives of Daniel and Tony. There's a dual timeline in each chapter between past and present as Daniel remembers various pivotal moments with his brother. The relationship with his mother is strained, with Tony clearly being her favorite son but Daniel tries to overlook her lack of caring and attention and focus on providing a caring environment for Tony. Daniel leaves home as soon as he's able and there's a lot of emotions about leaving Tony with the neglectful mother. When Daniel leaves home, he and a friend become motorcycle stunt riders and he's really good. Based in Reno, he travels the west coast with the show.

The story opens as Daniel 'wakes' up in Iowa (he thought he was in Reno); he reconnects with an old girlfriend and the paranormal elements begin to enter the story. Daniel is focused (obsessed) on meeting his younger brother in San Francisco to pick him up after marine animal camp as he promised - he just can't quite figure out how to get there. He talks himself into a ride across the country with ex-girlfriend Jolene and her companion, Brent. Trouble ensues.

Just when I would make a guess about what might happen, I'm wrong. And in the back of my mind I'm wondering, 'what's going to possibly happen next?'. Even once I understood the paranormal, ghostly part of the story, there was action and emotion drawing me ever further into the story.

No spoilers, so that's enough of the general plot outline.


This imaginative story started off a little wobbly for me. I wasn't following what was happening for the first chapter or two. But as the story continues and picks up speed, I found my way into the story. Daniel and his brother Tony clearly have an extremely strong, loving bond that was so heartwarming, particularly when Daniel was still living at home. That was SO well written. The mom is a pretty minor character in terms of actual interaction with the boys in the story, but her negative presence is pervasive.

Some reviews call this a horror story; personally, I don't call this horror- it's definitely ghosty and has a strong paranormal component, but not horror. I loved the way the ghost part was described and how it worked. I just loved Daniel and his devotion to his brother. Jolene was a bit of a uncertain character - I couldn't always understand her moody changes, but that answer is provided later in the story. And, Brent. Well, he's a slimeball. You'll see. I hope you pick up The Beached Ones; it's a very good read!

Trigger warnings: Moderate child abuse and suicide.

COYER reading challenge 3/54

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