The Forgotten Child

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

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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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 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!
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This is a strong debut for the author. Started off a little bit shaky with the main character bordering unlikable but the author quickly turned it around. I look forward to reading more from this new talent.
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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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During a frightening incident as a young teen, Riley Thomas discovered that she has powers as a medium. Since then, she has been shying away from any situation in which she would, once again, be exposed to spirits. Unfortunately, her enthusiastic friend, who loves ghost stories, has insisted that she and several other friends, visit the Jordanville Ranch, the site where Orin Jacobs murdered many young women. Riley really dreads going, but she feels compelled to. Once she is at the feared ranch, she is confronted by a small boy, whom she does not realize, at first, is a spirit. Riley must help him, no matter the cost to her sanity.

This book is perfect for those who love a ghost story. The plot has a authentic, down-to-earth feel to it, and the characters help to carry the story effectively. Riley, our medium, becomes a real person with real fears and real faults. She does not want this frightening gift that she finds that she has. However, her compassionate heart tells her she must use the gift to help those in distress. I enjoyed this Halloween ride!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
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There is no way this is Melissa's debut novel, holy crap! 

I was sucked in instantly. This story has it all, psycho serial killers, ghosts, mediums, ghost hunters, stalking, victims. WOW.  I don't even know what to say without giving away the story. This is a must read, perfect time of year for a spooky story! I really hope there is more. I would love to see what comes of Riley and her gift.
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The Forgotten Child is a creepy offering as a debut novel by Melissa Erin Jackson. Thank you to NetGalley and Ringtail Press for this eArc in exchange for an honest review. 

It was well written story with an essentially a good framework. It was a suitably spooky feel for October.

Riley is a reluctant medium and none of her friendship group know about it. However, they convince to come with them to a haunted weekend at a ranch where Orin, a serial killer worked his grisly trade from. Although Riley meets a love interest there, Michael (who I was hoping would be a serial killer/serial killers son etc but unfortunately wasn't)..she also comes across the ghost of Pete and Orin himself. Pete was a victim that hadn't been recovered, possibly one of the first. He follows Riley home and then she knows she has to solve this mystery for both him and herself to get her privacy back. There are many twists and turns along the way. I kind of enjoyed the book but I started to wish it would get to the point quicker. The relationship between Riley and Michael happened all too quickly and was too mushy for me. It added extra bloat to the book which wasn't needed. This is my problem...I personally don't like too much in the way of love stories and sexual content, unless it's done really well and deftly. 

I felt at times it could be a YA book and yet some of the content was distinctly adult. It couldn't make it's mind up.  The girlishness of the friends annoyed me. It went from a well written creepy chapter concerning the serial killer, Orin to Barbie goes ghost hunting in Chapter two. I was much happier when the friends left the scene. I thought it was strange how Riley goes from virtual recluse to intrepid medium amateur sleuth. This jarred with me. 

I think Melissa Erin Jackson will be an author to watch out for once she finds her niche and groove but The Forgotten Child just missed the mark for me so I'm giving it a 3/5.
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Spooky, atmospheric and creepy. A great Halloween read. Kept me gripped from the word go and left me guessing.
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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 [SPOILER - police arriving fashionably late - SPOILER]. I was really irritated by some of Riley’s actions including [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 - 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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The atmosphere of this book is eerie and the main thing that draws you in. Riley adds humor and fun to the book. She's a great new character that I look forward to seeing more of. The mystery is intense and full of surprises.
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The Forgotten Child by author Melissa Erin Jackson is a creepy, intense read! Perfect for October, the book is thick with plot and character!
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of The Forgotten Child in exchange for an honest review.
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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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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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3.5 stars

First 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 Reene's father 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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The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson
A Riley Thomas Mystery #1

Excellent 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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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!!
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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.
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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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I absolutely LOVED this book!  It is 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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Thank you Netgally . I just finished The Forgotten Child. IN this book I met   Riley Thomas.. She is a Medium   who  is a bit in denial. She  goes with her friends to a haunted tour where she runs into a little ghost boy who needs help. She also meets a handsome and sweet guy  Michael  ,a scary  ghost  Orin who murdered  bunches  of girls and a few little boys. .  The rest I will let you read but It is a very good book.
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