I didn’t realise this was a short book [though this is entirely my fault as clearly marked in the description that I didn’t fully read as I like to not have everything spoiled] and was surprised how quickly it moved forwards. Spoilers follow.
The book is preceded by a short prequel in the series which wasn’t obvious until I looked it up halfway through the book. The book, however, assumes you’ve read it and doesn’t really elaborate on characters or locations. As such you’re immediately meant to accept that there’s a ghost cat that communicates with the main character and can also move objects. There’s an article I read a while back on how someone skipped a page in the ‘Catcher in the Rye’ at the beginning and the book changed the whole concept [I’ve not read the book so wouldn’t know]. I had a somewhat related experience with Girl on the Train though where I was wondering for most of the book if this wasn’t something in Rachel’s imagination, as I didn’t read anything of the description and so wasn’t sure of the genre. I suppose it’s akin to someone watching a random episode of Charmed having to take at face value that there are witches or watching Buffy and having to accept that vampires are a thing.
So far the dislike of the book is my own fault – the length and the fact I didn’t read the prequel on how she came about the cottage and, I presume, the cat. As it happens, Phantom is actually a clever name for a ghost cat.
The rest of the book didn’t do much for me either though and I doubt I would have finished it in a timely manner, had it not been for how short it is. The characters weren’t developed enough, I couldn’t figure out the time period except for the bit where they actually mentioned dates, and the overall mystery was bland with the full explanation given after the fact. It wasn’t just cozy, it was just too straightforward and every action and conversation could have been summed up with ‘character did/say breezily’ thus skipping over any depth. The only character who held my interest was the ghost cat whom, at this point, I’m probably overselling. He’s no Salem on Sabrina, he’s just an apparition who appears at crucial points to deliver plot through knocking out an antagonist by dropping something on their head or by hissing at someone thus making it really obvious they’re evil.
Everything comes back around to the length: I think I would have really liked it had there been more depth to everything as the premise is fun, but equally that would make it another book and I only finished this because it was only 100 pages and I can hardly not finish something so short!
2/5 – Marking up for the premise which has so much potential, yet marking down for everything else. I would read another book in the series if it had more to it though.