Only Ghouls and Horses by Dan Harris

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“Well, Amy’s currently on maternity leave. And I see that you have a theoretical background in hauntings,” Taylor said, a glint in her eye.

Fieldwork at Britain’s paranormal detection agency had always seemed prestigious to Tom Bailey, but that was before he bought a house and settled down. Being a boring office drone doesn’t seem so bad anymore, not compared to meeting a grisly end and becoming yet another vacancy for recruitment to backfill.

However telling your manager you’re incompetent is not a winning advancement strategy, so with the department’s usual exorcist on leave Tom is forced out of his cubicle and into the world of ghosts, witches and cultists.

The one university module on ghost stories that he used to pad out his CV isn’t going to cut it. If Tom wants to keep his career and his head he’s going to have to learn the tricks of the trade, and fast.

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“We’ve had another report of a ghost,” Taylor said. “I know, two in one week. Like buses, hmm?”

Tom forced a smile. “Is Neema joining me again?” he asked, noting the empty spot on the wall where Neema wasn’t.

“Well, Neema’s a busy man,” Taylor said as she returned his insincere smile back to him. “And besides, all the exorcism is done on an app now, so there would really be no need for him.”

“You got my requisition request then?” Tom asked. He had been worried that he may have made a mistake when filling out the six page form and ordered some manner of exercise equipment instead. Worse, Taylor might have not seen it, or seen it and not deemed it necessary to approve it. But no, she had the look of smouldering fury behind her eyes of someone who had found themselves with no choice but to sign off a requisition request.

Taylor pulled a smartphone out of one of the drawers in her desk and placed it in front of Tom. “I did indeed get your request,” she said. “Give me your current phone and take this one instead. It’s preloaded with the uExorcise app. Have a read up on it before you head out there, but it’s your basic fire and forget exorcism-in-a-box.”

Tom reached out for the device with an eager hand.

“One little thing though,” Taylor said just as his fingers closed around the black plastic.


“We don’t own the app, we just license it. We get charged each time we use it. £50 per usage, would you believe? I should have moved into the private sector when I had the chance. So please make sure there actually is a ghost before you get too trigger happy with it.” Taylor punctuated this statement with a merry, tinkling laugh, but beneath the merriment, Tom sensed an edge of sorrow and regret for what might have been. That was fifty quid that could have been speeding down the wires into her department every time a nervous rookie jumped at a squeaky floorboard, if she’d just played her cards a little differently.

4 out of 5 (very good)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

This story tells the tale of poor Tom and how has been recruited by Unit 13, the bureau of a paranormal detective agency. He's been happy with his desk job, but when one of his colleagues goes on maternity leave, he's thrown into the field and he doesn't have a lot of experience.

This book was an absolute howl. It's a paranormal book with a lot of humour thrown in. I really enjoyed the take that Dan has taken on it and delivered. The style very much reminded me of Terry Pratchett. I'm looking forward to reading more.

** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Dan Harris is a writer. It's hard to deny that fact because he wrote the words that you’re currently reading.

Another hard to deny fact about Dan: He was born in the South West of England and moved roughly clockwise around Britain until he arrived back almost exactly where he started, except twenty years older and unemployed.

His writing has been described as some of the best urban fantasy humour to come out of Britain in the last thirty years. However, that description was from a close personal friend and should be viewed with suspicion.

Yet another fact about Dan: His only close personal friend is his cat, Sampson.

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