Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're taking a look at the first installment of a new Mystery series from Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, that's getting ready to hit bookstore shelves later this month. What's that? An actual ADVANCE review? Hey, no one likes a smarty pants. (^-^) Anywho, before the witching hour draws near allow me to introduce today's book of choice and wish list candidate...
A Ghostly Southern Mystery, Book 1
About the book...
A funeral, a ghost, a murder . . . It's all in a day's work for Emma Lee Raines . . .
Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she's suffering from “funeral trauma.” It's trauma all right, because the not-so-dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne—innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee's granny—she's adamant that she didn't just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.
Ruthie has no idea who wanted her pushing up daisies. All she knows is that she can't cross over until the matter is laid to eternal rest. In the land of the living, Emma Lee's high-school crush, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, isn't ready to rule out foul play. Granny Raines, the widow of Ruthie's ex-husband and co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, is the prime suspect. Now Emma Lee is stuck playing detective or risk being haunted forever.
Okay, so for those that have been frequent visitors of my site, you'll know that this is actually a more rare genre choice for me. I do read mysteries, but a bit more seldom than other categories simply because the cozy ones are often too forward with the who, what, where, and why of it all, leaving me with all the answers and nothing to look forward to. This one? Definitely not a case in point.
Emma Lee is a hoot and a half...and that's BEFORE she becomes unwisely inebriated while out with the local heartthrob of a Sheriff (Jack Henry). *ahem* She feels like the black sheep of the family, much preferring to handle the behind the scenes work and prep of the funeral home she and her sister run. All of that changes when she's touched with a case of "funeral trauma"...for the worst. I mean really, seeing and talking to ghosts was suppose to BOOST your social life, right? Or was that conversing and mingling with the living? *ponders* Push comes to shove and well actually because of a potential shove, Emma Lee is forced to deal with her new found "talent" because quite frankly if she doesn't, the recently departed Ruthie Sue Payne will not leave her ever loving soul alone.
The antics, the conversations, the doubts of her sanity both from within and outside...they all add up to a story with character that'll have you stuck to the page like a stray cat to a can of tuna. Whether friend or foe, the characters are memorable. The story ties things up rather nicely by book's end while leaving you prepped for the next installment in the series. My only complaint is that we never find out who or why Ruthie Sue's clothes were changed. Sounds like an odd question but if someone died in pink pajamas and bunny slippers only to walk the after life in something a bit more chic (not to mention it IS brought up in the story when trying to solve the murder), you gotta ask....though in this case we're left with suppositions (my bets on Granny Raines!).
In conclusion, a wonderful start to a promising series. It combines the humor and warmth often found in Women's Fiction or Chick Lit with a murder most foul that needs solving STAT! The paranormal aspect works well with all things considered and though a big part of the story, it doesn't overshadow the actual plotline. The ARC for book 2 (A Ghostly Grave) arrived on my doorstep with this one, so be prepared for another dose of Ghostly Southern Mysteries in the coming days.
About the author...
Tonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand. More than anything, Tonya loves to connect with readers, with a loyal ‘street team’ of fans and followers on social media. Be sure to check out her Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest posts!
Special thanks to Andrea at HarperCollins Publishers for the ARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, their full catalog, the author, or what's coming next for Emma Lee Raine, be sure to click through the links provided above. This title is set to hit bookstore and virtual shelves 02/24/15 (as of this post) via Witness Impulse, so be on the lookout for it near you.
Until next time...happy reading!