The Forgotten Child (A Riley Thomas Mystery #1)
The dead can speak. They need her to listen.Ever since Riley Thomas, reluctant medium extraordinaire, accidentally released a malevolent spirit from a Ouija board when she was thirteen, she’s taken a hard pass on scary movies, haunted houses, and cemeteries. Twelve years later, when her best friend pressures her into spending a paranormal investigation weekend at the infamous Jordanville Ranch—former home of deceased serial killer Orin Jacobs—Riley’s still not ready to accept the fact that she can communicate with ghosts.Shortly after their arrival at the ranch, the spirit of a little boy contacts Riley; a child who went missing—and was never found—in 1973.In order to put the young boy’s spirit to rest, she has to come to grips with her ability. But how can she solve a mystery that happened a decade before she was born? Especially when someone who knows Orin’s secrets wants to keep the truth buried—no matter the cost.CW/TW: Adult language, sexual situations, discussions about sexual assault

The Forgotten Child (A Riley Thomas Mystery #1) Details

TitleThe Forgotten Child (A Riley Thomas Mystery #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 10th, 2018
PublisherRingtail Press
Rating
GenreHorror, Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Adult

The Forgotten Child (A Riley Thomas Mystery #1) Review

  • Schizanthus
    January 1, 1970
    Content warnings include murder, sexual assault, stalking and kidnapping.I loved the beginning of this book. It has banter between friends, TV series binge watching and an upcoming road trip to a haunted ranch that used to be the home of a serial killer. The main character is a true crime enthusiast who’s also more in tune with the spirit world than she’d like to be. Ever since the “Great Ouija Board Fiasco” in her childhood Riley has tried to squish, deny and otherwise ignore her ability to see Content warnings include murder, sexual assault, stalking and kidnapping.I loved the beginning of this book. It has banter between friends, TV series binge watching and an upcoming road trip to a haunted ranch that used to be the home of a serial killer. The main character is a true crime enthusiast who’s also more in tune with the spirit world than she’d like to be. Ever since the “Great Ouija Board Fiasco” in her childhood Riley has tried to squish, deny and otherwise ignore her ability to see dead people.I was all in during the lead up to the weekend at the ranch and I loved the ooky spookiness of her time there. I loved Pete, the ghost boy she meets over hot chocolate; Pete became my favourite character. I even enjoyed the banter between Riley and Michael, a sceptic who was dragged along to the ranch because he lost a bet. Michael, or Mr Perfect as I came to think of him, was a nice addition to the story during his initial banter with Riley but I ended up finding him nauseatingly perfect and hoped he’d turn out to be a serial killer in disguise. I was creeped out that Mr Perfect called Riley “my girl” and she goes all swoony about it when the serial killer also called his victims his girls. I also wondered how it was possible that Michael didn’t know what a séance was when he kept talking about his cousin who works as a medium.Once the story left the ranch my excitement began to fade as this serial killer ghost story morphed into more of a romance (yes, I’m a romantiphobe), one that seemed to be a way for the characters to pass the time while they were waiting for people to respond to their murder investigation phone calls and emails. Naturally there’s the obligatory sex scene along with the follow up description of the next night - “They were two insatiable beasts”. Ugh! Trashy romance novel jargon is also borrowed, mentioning the serial killer’s “manhood”. Ugh! Eye roll!I enjoyed the chapters that helped tell the story of the serial killer; the way he thought, what he was trying to accomplish and the history of some of his victims. I thought I would really like Mindy, the girl who lived, but was disappointed that she was mostly typecast as ‘helpless victim’. Fair enough, considering what she’d experienced but I wanted more for her. It also didn’t seem plausible that this woman who’d been in hiding since her escape would be so easy to find or that she’d respond to Riley in the way that she does.I liked Riley’s character and really enjoyed the scenes when she was fangirling about her favourite TV series with another character as I could relate to that (maybe a little too well). I mostly enjoyed it when Riley chatted with her best friend Jade but Jade’s habit of spouting sexual euphemisms, while intended to be funny, had me practicing my eye rolling. The best (worst?) one was “cattle-prodding your oyster ditch with his lap rocket”. Seriously?I did find Riley’s transition from denying her ability to embracing it a tad rushed but considering her experience at the ranch it was fairly understandable. I also found the wrap up of the story predictable right down to the (view spoiler)[police arriving fashionably late (hide spoiler)]. I was really irritated by some of Riley’s actions including (view spoiler)[baiting the suspected murderer, leaving a key under her door mat for Mr Perfect when she was being stalked and mindlessly contaminating a crime scene even though she was obsessed with true crime and should have known better (hide spoiler)]. Then again, it would take some of the fun out of reading a horror/mystery/paranormal book if the main characters didn’t do stupid things that you want to yell at them through the pages about.I’m interested in reading the next book in the series because there was a lot to like about this book. I enjoyed the engaging style of writing and became hooked almost immediately. I was captivated until Riley left the ranch and turned into a swooner (is that a word?) who worries if her new boyfriend will yell at her for doing something stupid. It probably seems like I wouldn’t want to read on after essentially pulling this book apart but after such a strong beginning I have faith in this author’s ability to become one of my favourites. It feels like there’s potential for the characters to grow and given Riley’s still learning about her abilities I’m curious to see how the series progresses.Thank you very much to NetGalley and Ringtail Press for the opportunity to read this book. I’d give this 3.5 stars but am rounding up.
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  • Shalini
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the way the book started. It had the right amount of horror and paranormal. The story had Riley, a reluctant medium, forced to spend a weekend with friends in Jordanville Ranch, home of deceased serial killer, Orin Jacobs. There Riley not only met the evil force of Orin, but a gentle spirit, Pete, who needed to be found. His mother was still mourning and waiting for him forty years hence.Debut by Melissa Jackson started with a bang. I am not generally brave and this seemed like a good bo I loved the way the book started. It had the right amount of horror and paranormal. The story had Riley, a reluctant medium, forced to spend a weekend with friends in Jordanville Ranch, home of deceased serial killer, Orin Jacobs. There Riley not only met the evil force of Orin, but a gentle spirit, Pete, who needed to be found. His mother was still mourning and waiting for him forty years hence.Debut by Melissa Jackson started with a bang. I am not generally brave and this seemed like a good book for my foray into horror. The initial part was total fun and scary. I loved the way my fear skittered across my skin like tiny critters in a dark room where only the claws could be heard. I loved the way evil Orin sent his message to the main character, Riley for daring to enter into his territory, there was room rampage, the downing rods burning up palms. Wow!!I loved the way Riley had to find her courage and go back to solve the kidnapping and murder in 1973. Romance started with the entry of Michael in the horror house, where both of them clicked. Michael was a great male lead, and the interactions between Riley and him were humorous and flirty. Besides he was very supportive. Romance between the two was light and breezy and it felt just right. Then the book went into investigation and the reveal of a secret which had been kept buried for forty years. Therein started my niggles, I could read the horror in an hour, but the rest of the book took a couple of days. The investigation was slow and hardly any horror, and it felt like a routine mystery book. For me it lost its steam. Overall the book had everything, horror, romance, mystery, ghosts, paranormal. So it was enjoyable.
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  • Luupi
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsFirst I think is important to mention that this book contains rape and also sex (not very graphic scenes but they were there), so if you aren't comfortable with these topics I wouldn't recommend you to read it.Otherwise, this book was quite entertaining and fascinating! I do have to admit I wanted to read horror and although this book has ghosts, it wasn't exactly scary, which was a little bit disappointing. The main reason for me being the romance, before it I felt creeped out by some 3.5 starsFirst I think is important to mention that this book contains rape and also sex (not very graphic scenes but they were there), so if you aren't comfortable with these topics I wouldn't recommend you to read it.Otherwise, this book was quite entertaining and fascinating! I do have to admit I wanted to read horror and although this book has ghosts, it wasn't exactly scary, which was a little bit disappointing. The main reason for me being the romance, before it I felt creeped out by some of the scenes but after it I couldn't connect with the horror side of things :/Talking about the romance, I loved both of the characters involved individually because they were sweet and charming but together I couldn't see their chemistry. It was a little bit of insta-love and I think they would have been better of as friends but, at the same time, it was kind of nice to see them protect each other.Now, the main character, Riley, made a 180 degree change that came out of nowhere. At first she was a shy girl, struggling to do small talk but then when the love interest shows up she masters talking to a stranger and seems very approchable, after this she continues being this way thoughout the book. Although, she was really relatable during the story, it was a bit strange to see that change in her personality.One of the things I loved was that we get to see how a lot of different stories come together thanks to Riley, there were a couple of characters that represented each story but at the same time there weren't so many people that you would start to get confused. My favorite one was Walter (view spoiler)[Reene's father (hide spoiler)] I almost cried with the chapter that contains his life, so sweet and sad.Another thing was Riley's relationship with her best friend, Jade. How I loved those two, they were really supportive to each other and it felt so deeply the love they had for one another. I do wish we would have been able to see them together more often but I still was reading their scenes with hearts in my eyes.The ending was more than I was expecting it to be! I liked how I couldn't even see it coming, I'm pretty good at discovering endings before they happen (that's why I don't read many thrillers) but I couldn't do it with this one. I had some ideas but at the end none of them were true and I love when that happens :P
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  • Garrett
    January 1, 1970
    Full Disclosure: Melissa is my best writing friend, and one of my best friends in general. This review was never not going to be biased.She surprised me with this book when it was 3/4 of the way finished. "Guess what I've been doing" in a picture form. I think that was the moment I knew it was going to be something special. The first time I beta read it (and the second), my suspicions were confirmed. And then I read the final/polished draft. She knocked it completely out of the park. The world n Full Disclosure: Melissa is my best writing friend, and one of my best friends in general. This review was never not going to be biased.She surprised me with this book when it was 3/4 of the way finished. "Guess what I've been doing" in a picture form. I think that was the moment I knew it was going to be something special. The first time I beta read it (and the second), my suspicions were confirmed. And then I read the final/polished draft. She knocked it completely out of the park. The world needs this book.Now, I don't typically go for the murder mystery/paranormal bent. Full disclosure on that, but this book absolutely had me hooked. The atmosphere of the weekend at the ranch is palpable as you traverse the unfolding story on the page.But this book is more than the mystery. It's beyond timely. In the era of #MeToo, we need stories of strong women overcoming their fears to bring forth long-hidden truths. We see it every day in the news, and we need it reinforced on the page. We need to believe women, we need to empower women, and we need to tell good stories. This book does all three.I am so proud of Melissa and this book, and I cannot wait for you all to see it and meet Riley Thomas and her cast of friends. Please, I beg you, pick this up when you have the chance. I've already read it three times, and I know I'll read it again on release day.
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  • Kayla Henley
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing story that expertly combines the supernatural, serial killers, true crime, psychic mediums, and even humor. Riley is not your typical medium; a girl in her mid-twenties, she lives alone and spends her days avoiding most human interaction and, more importantly, ANYTHING to do with the paranormal—a traumatic experience from childhood having left her deeply scarred and convinced her abilities will only bring harm to others. But that all changes when she spends a terrifying night in the h An amazing story that expertly combines the supernatural, serial killers, true crime, psychic mediums, and even humor. Riley is not your typical medium; a girl in her mid-twenties, she lives alone and spends her days avoiding most human interaction and, more importantly, ANYTHING to do with the paranormal—a traumatic experience from childhood having left her deeply scarred and convinced her abilities will only bring harm to others. But that all changes when she spends a terrifying night in the haunted home of a notorious serial killer, stumbling across a brutal crime forgotten by history. This snowballs a series of events that leads Riley on a dangerous hunt for answers, while also navigating the confusion and hope of new love. I read this book in one day and found myself engrossed in the plot and deeply attached to the characters. What I appreciate the most about this story is its multi-faceted structure; many novels of this genre focus their plot in one or two settings (the group in a haunted house stalked by a serial killer being the classic example), but Jackson doesn’t focus her attention on a single location or plot line for too long. Following Riley’s quest for answers while flashing back to events that stained the house’s history, Jackson feeds the story to the reader one piece at a time, building a twisted picture that leaves the reader guessing until the end. For fans of ghosts, serial killers, true crime, and for those who can relate to that confusing time in your twenties of figuring out adulthood and relationships, THIS is a book for you!
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  • Janet Newport
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley and Ringtail Press for this arc.I enjoyed this read... just as I enjoyed the tv program "The Medium". From the blurb, I thought this might be a more comedic / YA kind of book and while it had some of those elements, it really was more. There really was a serious crime here with a lot of loose ends. Riley's "girl gang" may have been a bit over the top, but they seemed like great good friends. Her "romance" with Michael felt a little rushed in the beginning, a little "too magic Thank you NetGalley and Ringtail Press for this arc.I enjoyed this read... just as I enjoyed the tv program "The Medium". From the blurb, I thought this might be a more comedic / YA kind of book and while it had some of those elements, it really was more. There really was a serious crime here with a lot of loose ends. Riley's "girl gang" may have been a bit over the top, but they seemed like great good friends. Her "romance" with Michael felt a little rushed in the beginning, a little "too magic", but they did have fun (and sex). The first half of the book was a little slow, but that was mostly because of all the introductions to the various characters. The pace picked up steam about half way through and action was fairly non-stop through the end. I see where this is subtitled A Riley Thomas Mystery # 1 and do hope it's the beginning of a series!
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  • Chrissie Gerber
    January 1, 1970
    How to tell someone subtly to read a book? Without spoilers? This is going to be the toughest one yet. I had this book spotlighted on my blog for its coming release, and the synopsis had me so interested that I sent the author a request, let me know if the book is on Netgalley, please?! She did, I requested it, and I got accepted to read it - IN ONE DAY!I could not stop reading this book once I started, and while there was a lot to the plot, Melissa wrote it in such a way that you keep wanting m How to tell someone subtly to read a book? Without spoilers? This is going to be the toughest one yet. I had this book spotlighted on my blog for its coming release, and the synopsis had me so interested that I sent the author a request, let me know if the book is on Netgalley, please?! She did, I requested it, and I got accepted to read it - IN ONE DAY!I could not stop reading this book once I started, and while there was a lot to the plot, Melissa wrote it in such a way that you keep wanting more. I wished that this book never ended, it was that good. I'm sure that if Melissa wanted, she can write more books about Riley and I will be the first person in line to read every one of them.This follows Riley, as she learns to accept her gift and make peace with the way in which this will change her life. After pretending she cannot see ghosts for most of her life, her best friend Jade bullies her into going away to a haunted house for a weekend, where this whole mess starts.We also see snippets of Riley's past and how this shaped her need to hide her gift for this many years, as well as insight into the murderer, Orin - I am happy to say that these were sufficiently creepy and insightful at the same time.Orin's life, how he got into murder, was fascinating. He didn't see it as murder, but rather a study of human anatomy while his subjects were still alive. This was an interesting take that I don't see often in these types of mysteries. He was intrigued by how things worked from the inside, including humans...The friendship between the five ladies going on this trip together, Riley, Jade, Pamela, Brie, and Rochelle was so fun to read about. Jade's inappropriate sex jokes had me laughing out loud and fit her personality so well. Michael, the love interest in this book, was a beautiful, strong, and secure man that gave Riley everything she needed at every moment. He was there for her, without crowding her and made her feel safe. He didn't once think she was nuts (well, maybe at the start for a second, but skepticism is a real thing), and supported her through all of the bizarre things that she had to endure.There were paranormal investigators (secondary characters) - Nina (she played a slightly bigger role), Derrick, Xavier, and Mario. They were full-rounded characters, not just fillers there to further the plot alone. I like that there was thought put into each character introduced into the story for a reason.Pete, my heart broke for this boy so much - not saying more about this one...There was also diversity in the character relationships, while not a major part of the plot, this is great to see - no more hiding behind the stereotypical characters we are so sick of.Melissa had me hanging onto her words, I couldn't read fast enough, and my need to know how this story end was tangible. I would highly recommend buying this book immediately and binge reading - make sure you have a full day that you can dedicate to this book... For fans of fast-paced thrillers...
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  • Melissa Erin Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    Is there a rule about rating your own book? This feels odd. Anyway! I’ll just tell you some things about the book rather than reviewing it.+ There are ghosts!+ There is romance. If you don’t like romance mixed in with your creepy elements, this might not be your cup of tea.+ This is a paranormal mystery that’s somewhere between a cozy and a traditional mystery. I’d say there’s quite a few spooky/creepy elements, but wouldn’t label it as horror. If you’re a bit of a chicken (like me!), it might c Is there a rule about rating your own book? This feels odd. Anyway! I’ll just tell you some things about the book rather than reviewing it.+ There are ghosts!+ There is romance. If you don’t like romance mixed in with your creepy elements, this might not be your cup of tea.+ This is a paranormal mystery that’s somewhere between a cozy and a traditional mystery. I’d say there’s quite a few spooky/creepy elements, but wouldn’t label it as horror. If you’re a bit of a chicken (like me!), it might creep you out, but it likely won’t cause nightmares. (Hopefully.)+ It’s an adult book (Riley, the lead character, is 25), not YA. Recommended audience is 18+ due to language and sexual content.+ The audiobook is in production!+ If you have personal experience with hauntings, I want to hear allll of your ghost stories. I love ghost stories so so much.+ Thank you for reading! <3
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  • Krimsin King
    January 1, 1970
    I was utterly swept away in this story. It was not as I was expecting. As I was at about the 33% mark, I was like how is this not wrapping up? All of a sudden it built, and built. Never letting me catch my breath. I was thoroughly entertained. I want more of this character set. More books. I actually read nothing up on the author before reading this and was shocked to see this was the first novel. The talent level of the author was astonishing for a freshman writer. I look forward to more from h I was utterly swept away in this story. It was not as I was expecting. As I was at about the 33% mark, I was like how is this not wrapping up? All of a sudden it built, and built. Never letting me catch my breath. I was thoroughly entertained. I want more of this character set. More books. I actually read nothing up on the author before reading this and was shocked to see this was the first novel. The talent level of the author was astonishing for a freshman writer. I look forward to more from her. It was the perfect book to read during the Halloween time of year. I couldn't stop reading it. One of my top 5 novels of the year and possibly ever. I don't often give a full 5 stars, but this book earned it.
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  • Alyssa Palombo
    January 1, 1970
    I ADORED this book. It had everything I like: a paranormal element, a great romance, a true crime feel, and great female friendships. It was warm and funny at times while also being legitimately scary at others. This is one of my favorite books of 2018 at this point, and I already can't wait for more from Jackson!
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely LOVED this book! It it set to be a first in a new series titled “A Riley Thomas Mystery” and I tell you what, I am hooked! This is the first book that I’ve read by the author, Melissa Erin Jackson and I was not disappointed. I tore thru this story, couldn’t put it down. The plot, fantastic. Riley Thomas can connect with the dead. However it is not something she enjoys in the least after a bad experience, one of her first, when she was a young girl. Ever since that situation, she has I absolutely LOVED this book! It it set to be a first in a new series titled “A Riley Thomas Mystery” and I tell you what, I am hooked! This is the first book that I’ve read by the author, Melissa Erin Jackson and I was not disappointed. I tore thru this story, couldn’t put it down. The plot, fantastic. Riley Thomas can connect with the dead. However it is not something she enjoys in the least after a bad experience, one of her first, when she was a young girl. Ever since that situation, she has kept people at a distance, not venturing out too far, being a home body. Until her dear friend, Jade, convinces her to join in a girls weekend excursion, to none other than an alleged haunted ranch. All hell breaks loose....I highly recommend that you add this book to your list. Publication date scheduled for October 10th, 2018. For being the first in a series, I personally felt this was a well written story, containing strong characters, a great ending and everything in between was pretty amazing as well! Job well done Ms. Jackson! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book!
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  • Jasmine
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from the author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I found this book well-written and quite good. It reminded me of two television shows, Ghost Whisperer and Medium, because the main character was female and could communicate with ghosts. I found the main character, Riley, realistic and relatable, mainly because she acts the same way that I do when I watch a television show or movie that I love. She (and a couple of other main characters, like Jade) pro I received an ARC of this book from the author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I found this book well-written and quite good. It reminded me of two television shows, Ghost Whisperer and Medium, because the main character was female and could communicate with ghosts. I found the main character, Riley, realistic and relatable, mainly because she acts the same way that I do when I watch a television show or movie that I love. She (and a couple of other main characters, like Jade) provided the most comic relief, something that was definitely needed in a book of this genre. At one point, while I was reading, I wondered if the author had experienced paranormal activity herself. If she hasn't, I assume she has done a lot of research and watched a lot of television shows like Mythbusters. Overall, I think this book would be the perfect read for anyone who loves to watch television shows involving paranormal or supernatural activity (Mythbusters, Ghost Whisperer, Medium..., Supernatural).
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  • Kaili Taghon (Entertainingly Nerdy)
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book! I haven't read a story about ghosts in a while and this book is a good start when trying to get back into this genre. It's not really scary but it is very suspenseful and kept me on my toes. If you're looking for a good book to read around Halloween (or any time for that matter) then check out this book! I'm looking forward to Melissa coming out with more books since she's now become one of my favorite authors.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this book. The story is so fun and exciting with quirky characters and terrifying ghosts. Can you imagine going on a ghost tour in a house where a psycho serial killer murdered a bunch of girls? It's like a way more entertaining Ghost Hunters episode.
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  • Brandon
    January 1, 1970
    A great paranormal mystery! TFC was a page-turner from beginning to end.I loved this book so much and it really helped me get through a tough reading slump I was in! It was fast-paced and filled with mystery, paranormal activity, great characters I adored.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    I. Loved. This. Book. It was fast paced, exciting and juuuuust creepy enough.
  • Dez Nemec
    January 1, 1970
    In the prologue, we meet Orin Jacobs. When he was a child, his mom thought he'd be an inventor someday because he liked to take things apart and see how they worked. Unfortunately, he also began to take apart living things. His mom was not too keen on her son's hobby the day she found him with his sister tied to a tree and he told mom: "I wasn't going to hurt her!...I just wanted to see what's inside!" And that is how we start this creepy little tale. Nothing says "future serial killer" like cut In the prologue, we meet Orin Jacobs. When he was a child, his mom thought he'd be an inventor someday because he liked to take things apart and see how they worked. Unfortunately, he also began to take apart living things. His mom was not too keen on her son's hobby the day she found him with his sister tied to a tree and he told mom: "I wasn't going to hurt her!...I just wanted to see what's inside!" And that is how we start this creepy little tale. Nothing says "future serial killer" like cutting up animals. Orin did have the decency to wait until his mom's death to upgrade to humans, so I guess he does get points for that!The story begins with two friends, Jade and Riley debating the wisdom of spending a weekend at Orin's former house, Jordanville Ranch. Orin, now long gone (...or is he?!), had used the ranch as the site of his experiments on his "patients." He'd take one girl for a year and operate on her. He wanted to test the human body and see how damage outside affected the inside, among other nasty little things. Orin's former house had been made popular by a reality tv show on the paranormal, and was open for visitors that wanted a weekend of ghost hunting. Riley is extremely apprehensive. Unbeknownst to Jade, Riley is a sensitive. She has been suppressing it since she was a child and saw the deceased sister of her childhood best friend, and doesn't want to put herself into a bad situation. But after Jade lays on the guilt, Riley agrees to go with her and 3 other friends.Riley immediately feels things are wrong in the house, but tries her hardest to ignore it. After all, there is a super cute skeptic in one of the other groups that is definitely interested in knowing her better. But a few inadvertent object readings and bad dreams have her spooked. Things really get weird when she finds a boy in the lobby, only to discover later that he isn't staying at the house...or the nearby dude ranch...and he's been missing since 1973. Then the tour begins and Riley goes into the basement, the scene of Orin's experiments and all hell breaks loose. Riley leaves the house immediately with friend Pamela and cutie Michael, both of whom were in the basement with her. As they leave, she's sees the missing boy, Peter, in an upstairs window and feels guilty, but can't stay. But Peter follows her home, and things start getting weirder. Riley decides if she can find his body, she can put him to rest. But more went on in Jordanville Ranch than anyone knows. Well, almost anyone.I really enjoyed this book. The characters were likable and the ghost story was interesting. I couldn't done without some of the romance stuff, but it didn't hamper the story. All in all, this was lots of fun. I'm looking forward to the next one!Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lou Ann
    January 1, 1970
    This is a "friend" 5 star review, so is a little biased, but I am so proud of Melissa's debut, The Forgotten Child. The story has a wonderful romance, and a paranormal mystery, alternating between the two plot lines. Although not my usual genre, I'm also loving another awesome ghost story (City of Ghosts, Victoria Schwab) and since this story promises more of Riley, the MC, I'm hooked into reading more of her tales. Riley helps solve crimes by tapping into her ghost communication skills. Lots of This is a "friend" 5 star review, so is a little biased, but I am so proud of Melissa's debut, The Forgotten Child. The story has a wonderful romance, and a paranormal mystery, alternating between the two plot lines. Although not my usual genre, I'm also loving another awesome ghost story (City of Ghosts, Victoria Schwab) and since this story promises more of Riley, the MC, I'm hooked into reading more of her tales. Riley helps solve crimes by tapping into her ghost communication skills. Lots of detail in Melissa's writing, so you'll never be confused. You must read it! But not before bedtime--really spooky. Just in time for Halloween!
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  • Cathy Geha
    January 1, 1970
    The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin JacksonA Riley Thomas Mystery #1Excellent debut novel that was a joy to read! This book was a delight from beginning to end with just enough creepiness and horror without being over the top. With a reluctant medium hiding from her talent and ghosts that want to and do contact her she begins to realize that she might have a gift that will help rather than harm. With one small boy ghost to find peace for, a malevolent serial killer ghost on the prowl, good frien The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin JacksonA Riley Thomas Mystery #1Excellent debut novel that was a joy to read! This book was a delight from beginning to end with just enough creepiness and horror without being over the top. With a reluctant medium hiding from her talent and ghosts that want to and do contact her she begins to realize that she might have a gift that will help rather than harm. With one small boy ghost to find peace for, a malevolent serial killer ghost on the prowl, good friends to support her, a creepy stalker, a victim of the serial killer – one that got away and a romance that was normal and healthy and fun to watch develop…well…I have to say this is an author and series I am really looking forward to reading more of! Thank you to NetGalley and Ringtail Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    The Forgotten Child was an enjoyable mystery/horror book. Riley Thomas has been dragged to spend the weekend on Jordanville Ranch, home of the infamous serial killer Orin Jacobs, for a paranormal activity weekend with her closest friends. Riley, who has been hiding her medium abilities, is contacted by multiple spirits at the ranch and becomes involved solving a 40 year old mystery, I loved the atmosphere of the beginning of this book. The time at the Ranch was easily the best part of the book. The Forgotten Child was an enjoyable mystery/horror book. Riley Thomas has been dragged to spend the weekend on Jordanville Ranch, home of the infamous serial killer Orin Jacobs, for a paranormal activity weekend with her closest friends. Riley, who has been hiding her medium abilities, is contacted by multiple spirits at the ranch and becomes involved solving a 40 year old mystery, I loved the atmosphere of the beginning of this book. The time at the Ranch was easily the best part of the book. It was creepy with the best kind of tension. I liked how the suspense slowly built, while we got to know the characters and their relationships, both the friendships and the adorable love interest. For me the boo slowed down a little in the middle during some of the investigative part of the story. It didn't hold my interest in the same way. However, the ending ratcheted up again, with a return to the creepiest parts of the book. It was a wild ride of the ending and I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely be reading more books in this series if it continues. Great paranormal mystery!!**Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the watch of this book. All opinions are my own. **
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  • Jennifer Laam
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an early version of this book and am so happy to see it out in the world! Riley is a wonderfully warm and realistic heroine, "reluctant medium," and sleuth. The scenes between Riley and her friends, and then Riley and her love interest, Michael, are fun and lively, while the paranormal scenes are eerie and suspenseful and the two elements blend seamlessly. THE FORGOTTEN CHILD is a wonderfully promising beginning to the Riley Thomas series and I can't wait to read more.
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  • Colleen
    January 1, 1970
    4 StarsARC provided by Ringtail Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.The Forgotten Child is an intriguing Paranormal Mystery and notable debut novel. The description caught my eye because it sounded different and refreshing. And this definitely lived up to my expectations. The story is about twenty-five-year-old Riley Thomas who has strong abilities as a psychic medium but suppresses her gift because a bad experience when she was young. But after years of avoiding anywhere there 4 StarsARC provided by Ringtail Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.The Forgotten Child is an intriguing Paranormal Mystery and notable debut novel. The description caught my eye because it sounded different and refreshing. And this definitely lived up to my expectations. The story is about twenty-five-year-old Riley Thomas who has strong abilities as a psychic medium but suppresses her gift because a bad experience when she was young. But after years of avoiding anywhere there might be dead people, Riley’s friends talk her into going to an allegedly haunted ranch. In the seventies and eighties, a serial killer used Jordanville Ranch as his base of operation for abducting, mutilating, and murdering girls. But what really happened all those years ago? And did they really find all the victims?The story is told in third person, past tense around Riley with a few flashback intervals to the killer. It mostly takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Gila National Forest. The setting could have used a bit more description. I couldn’t tell where it was set until it was spelled out. And more description of the Gila National Forest would have amplified the atmosphere because that is definitely a spooky looking place.The investigation of the mystery took on a broader scope than I expected, but that kept it from just being a haunted house story. Although the plot is slow burning at times, I was interested the entire time and read most of the book in one day. Riley is an intriguing character. She is strongly gifted at seeing the dead, but is terrified of them. She’s a little awkward at times and inconsistently suffers from social anxiety. But she is an open-hearted and determined. The cast of characters was diverse and interesting. I wasn’t expecting there to be a romance subplot, but I enjoyed it. It was cute without suffocating the rest of the story. And there was a little steaminess thrown in.The story does have some dark themes since it revolves around the torture and murders committed by the serial killer. It isn’t salaciously graphic, but there was some violent content. The spooky parts were well done. The only bits that occasionally sounded borderline cheesy were where the characters discussed psychic abilities. But it wasn’t too bad. Obviously a story about psychic mediums requires some suspension of belief. But I thoroughly enjoyed The Forgotten Child. It definitely left things open for sequels, and this is intended to be the first in a series. I look forward to reading more of the series and seeing the author grow.RATING FACTORS:Ease of Reading: 4 StarsWriting Style: 3 StarsCharacters and Character Development: 4 StarsPlot Structure and Development: 4 StarsLevel of Captivation: 5 StarsOriginality: 4 Stars
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    (This review will be on my blog All the Ups and Downs soon.)The synopsis for The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson really drew me in. It was one of those books that I knew I had to read. I even pre-ordered the book. Luckily, I won it on a Goodreads giveaway, so I had the chance to read it before it was released.I found the pacing to be fairly consistent for The Forgotten Child. For the most part, it was a fast paced read which I thoroughly enjoyed! There were a few times that the pacing sl (This review will be on my blog All the Ups and Downs soon.)The synopsis for The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson really drew me in. It was one of those books that I knew I had to read. I even pre-ordered the book. Luckily, I won it on a Goodreads giveaway, so I had the chance to read it before it was released.I found the pacing to be fairly consistent for The Forgotten Child. For the most part, it was a fast paced read which I thoroughly enjoyed! There were a few times that the pacing slowed down a bit, and I was wishing for it to speed up again. However, those moments weren't very often.The plot for The Forgotten Child has been done before, but Ms. Jackson made the story line interesting enough for me to enjoy the story. Riley, the main character, gets roped in to going to a house that has been featured on a popular ghost hunting show and known to be very haunted. It was also the site of some very brutal murders. Riley is reluctant to go due to her ability to see and interact with ghosts and because of something that happened when she was 13 years old involving a spirit. While there, she interacts with the ghost of a little boy as well as the infamous serial killer who used to live there. After getting completely freaked out by a ghostly encounter with the serial killer's ghost, she leaves early to go back home. However, the ghost boy has followed her home. She feels sorry for the little boy and vows to find out what happened to him. However, finding out what happened to him won't be easy, and it will put her in grave danger. While trying to uncover the mystery of the little boy, she also is juggling her love life with her new boyfriend. I felt like there were no plot twists, but there were plenty of spooky moments! There was one point in the story where I was really regretting my decision to read The Forgotten Child late at night due to a very spooky scene! Even though this book is part of a series, there were no cliffhangers. All of my questions were answered by the end of the book which I was thankful for. I wish this focused more on Riley's abilities and on the ghostly aspect instead of Riley's relationship with Michael, but that's just a personal preference. I also could have done without the sex scenes as I felt like they didn't really fit the tone of the book. Perhaps that's just a me thing though.The world building for The Forgotten Child was written fairly well. There were some times where I was wondering about the dialogue in the book. Some of the choices of phrases used were a bit cheesy. I hadn't heard anyone use some of the phrases used in the book ever! However, the dialogue was still very believable for the most part. I loved the way some of The Forgotten Child was set a creepy ranch in a spooky house. I do wish more of the action took place here, but I still enjoyed the book.I enjoyed the characters in The Forgotten Child. Melissa Erin Jackson did a fantastic job in making each character feel like a real person. Not one of the characters was lacking. I found each one to be interesting. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Riley and Michael. I enjoyed their banter a lot even if I wish the book would have focused less on their physical and romantic relationship. I also enjoyed reading about Jade and Riley's friendship. You could feel how strong their friendship was. I loved how Miss Jackson wrote about Orin and Hank. I could feel the evilness of both Orin and Hank oozing from the pages! Both of them made fantastic evil characters.Trigger warnings include a lot of swearing, violence, a few graphic (but not too graphic) sex scenes including a non-graphic rape, murder including child murder, drinking, an evil spirit, and other scenes dealing with the occult.All in all, The Forgotten Child was a good read. I loved how spooky it was as well as how great the characters were written. I would definitely recommend The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson to those 18+ who love a good paranormal mystery. I will definitely be reading the next book in the Riley Thomas Mystery series.(I won a free eBook of this title from a Goodreads Giveaway. I was not required to write a review.)
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  • Gianna
    January 1, 1970
    Riley Thomas has spent her life avoiding supernatural events. Having been through a traumatic experience involving a ghost toddler and a Ouija Board in the past, the last thing she wants is to mess with spirits ever again.Which is why she didn't want to go on that trip to the haunted farm. And she should have stayed away.Her friends convince her to spend a weekend on a notorious farm, where malicious serial killer Orin Jacobs spent years capturing and torturing young women. Now, his spirit haunt Riley Thomas has spent her life avoiding supernatural events. Having been through a traumatic experience involving a ghost toddler and a Ouija Board in the past, the last thing she wants is to mess with spirits ever again.Which is why she didn't want to go on that trip to the haunted farm. And she should have stayed away.Her friends convince her to spend a weekend on a notorious farm, where malicious serial killer Orin Jacobs spent years capturing and torturing young women. Now, his spirit haunts the place, and spirit-sensitive Riley has woken him from his slumber.But that's not everything.The spirit of a young boy appears to Riley. But Orin Jacobs was known for capturing only young women. So who killed Pete, and why is his spirit haunting the farm?Determined to help Pete move from this world to the next one, Riley will decide to use her medium powers once again. But someone desperately tries to keep Orin Jacob's secrets buried. Someone from this story is still alive - and Riley is in grave danger.Intelligent and thrilling, The Forgotten child has a very promising concept that doesn't disappoint. The author delivers exactly as promised, and the plot is full of twists and turns, keeping the reader alert throughout the book. Mixing supernatural elements with ordinary crime stories, Melissa Erin Jackson has managed to create a blend that is definitely interesting to read. Along the way, we get to know our heroine, Riley in-depth, and she is a character both well constructed and someone you can highly empathize with. It's obvious that the author has put great efforts in making this a well-constructed, plot hole-free story, and the result is very good, indeed!Strongly recommended to the fans of the genre.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    A suspenseful, chilling, entertaining debut by my friend Melissa! I’m a fan of paranormal romance and while the love interest in this story is a red-blooded human man, the combination of spirits, a medium, true crime, and a new romance is a win for me. The protagonist Riley is an intelligent and brave heroine who is learning to deal with paranormal activity in order to help others. Riley is relatable and I liked her immediately. There’s the right amount of scary (ghosts, a seance, researching a A suspenseful, chilling, entertaining debut by my friend Melissa! I’m a fan of paranormal romance and while the love interest in this story is a red-blooded human man, the combination of spirits, a medium, true crime, and a new romance is a win for me. The protagonist Riley is an intelligent and brave heroine who is learning to deal with paranormal activity in order to help others. Riley is relatable and I liked her immediately. There’s the right amount of scary (ghosts, a seance, researching a killer), female friendship, and romance. It’s a perfect read to curl up on a couch with (maybe during the day or with the lights on). 👻 Awaiting the next one!
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    You are now my FAVORITE new author! !!! I loved the book and didn't want it to end! Finished it I one day. I felt like I was right beside Riley from page 1 to the very end. I could see everything she saw and my heart thumped right along with hers. I absolutely cannot wait to read Rileys next adventure. This is a MUST READ for anyone who loves mysteries with a little twist.
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  • Anna Szabó
    January 1, 1970
    The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson is a great debut novel. I found it hard to go to sleep after reading it. It contains some truly disturbing scenes so it’s not for the faint-hearted. The book is a ghost story with some murder investigation thrown in. The plot was well thought out, enjoyable. The point wasn’t who did the murdering but how to prove it. I really liked the story, it kept me interested.As for the characters, we have Riley. She is a psyhcic, sorry medium. She is afraid of th The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson is a great debut novel. I found it hard to go to sleep after reading it. It contains some truly disturbing scenes so it’s not for the faint-hearted. The book is a ghost story with some murder investigation thrown in. The plot was well thought out, enjoyable. The point wasn’t who did the murdering but how to prove it. I really liked the story, it kept me interested.As for the characters, we have Riley. She is a psyhcic, sorry medium. She is afraid of this ability at first - we get to know why - but as the story goes on she realizes that it is a useful one. That she needs to explore every angle. I liked her very much. And Michael. He is a funny, sweet guy. And my personal favourite Jade. I hope she’ll be in future books. Last but not least, I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book.
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  • Heather Withington
    January 1, 1970
    The Forgotten Child follows Riley (a reluctant psychic) as she visits a haunted house, that was once owned by a serial killer. She experiences paranormal activity and as a result, she is thrown into an investigation that will not only put her life at risk her life but those of her friends.Melissa Jackson has created a story that is fast-paced, easy to read and wonderfully creepy. It is atmospheric from the start, starting with some background information on the villain of the piece. We then meet The Forgotten Child follows Riley (a reluctant psychic) as she visits a haunted house, that was once owned by a serial killer. She experiences paranormal activity and as a result, she is thrown into an investigation that will not only put her life at risk her life but those of her friends.Melissa Jackson has created a story that is fast-paced, easy to read and wonderfully creepy. It is atmospheric from the start, starting with some background information on the villain of the piece. We then meet Riley and her group of friends and the story just takes off from there. What follows is a really intriguing story, where we are rooting for the main character throughout, and easily one of the strongest (and scary) endings I have read this year.It was refreshing to see a female main character who doesn't hate on her female friends and in fact embraces them. There was no girl hate throughout which this story could have easily done due to the content. The love story was lovely to read (if a bit sudden) and I loved that the male character took more of a back seat as Riley tries to make sense of what is going on.There are definitely some creepy moments, especially when Riley get her dreams and visions, not just relying on blood and gore but a well crafted atmospheric situation which leaves the reader holding their breath. I loved this book and look forward to more in this series. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Mommy Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Guys! If you're looking for a spooky book for this Halloween season, this book is for you! I'm just hoping I'll be able to sleep tonight! (haha) Yes, I'm a chicken shit when it comes to spirits and ghosts but it was such a great book!Here's a quick synopsis: Riley Thomas released an evil spirit from a Ouija board when she was thirteen and ever since, she has avoided anything related to spirits. When her best friend Jade pressures her to spend a paranormal activity weekend at a the infamous Jorda Guys! If you're looking for a spooky book for this Halloween season, this book is for you! I'm just hoping I'll be able to sleep tonight! (haha) Yes, I'm a chicken shit when it comes to spirits and ghosts but it was such a great book!Here's a quick synopsis: Riley Thomas released an evil spirit from a Ouija board when she was thirteen and ever since, she has avoided anything related to spirits. When her best friend Jade pressures her to spend a paranormal activity weekend at a the infamous Jordanville Ranch where deceased serial killer Orin Jacobs lived, Riley relunctantly agrees. Shortly after their arrival at the ranch, the spirit of a little boy, Pete, contacts Riley. He was reported missing in 1973 and was never found. In order to put the little boy's spirit to rest, she must come to terms with her ability. How can she solve a crime that happened decades before she was even born? Especially since someone who knows Orin's secrets wants to keep the truth buried.Like I've said, I'm not brave when it comes to paranormal activity but this book had just enough creepiness for me to keep going. I loved how Orin's spirit showed himself to Riley when she first entered the cellar, aka his torture territory. I had goose bumps for hours! She was brave enough to return a few weeks after to finally uncover what truly happened. I would have run for my life and never returned! Apart from the paranormal activity, I loved the love story between Riley and Michael. They seemed perfect for each other, in their own weird ways. Overall, the book had everything from horror to romance, ghosts and paranormal. I loved it! It's a perfect read for October! It will be available on October 10th. Thank you NetGalley, Ringtail Press and Melissa E. Jackson for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Meg
    January 1, 1970
    A mystery with a paranormal twist, this novel is spooky enough to make you wonder about the noise you just heard but not so spooky that you dive under the covers so that you cannot be found. The story was captivating and nicely paced. Even more timid readers (like me) will enjoy it. I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.
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