Don of the Dead

Casey Daniels, Author
Casey Daniels, Author . Avon $6.99 (325p) ISBN 978-0-06-082146-3
Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-149869-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-0-06-149867-1
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-149864-0
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-182883-6
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Combining elements of a cozy mystery and a paranormal romance, this debut aims for fresh and sassy; while it delivers fare both conventional and canned, it's redeemed in the end. The book's big flaw is its unappealing protagonist, Pepper Martin, a cemetery tour guide in Cleveland who thinks her best asset is her big chest. She wields the power of the twins often while investigating the death of former mob boss Gus Scarpetti—at the behest of the wise guy himself. Ever since Pepper hit her head on Gus's mausoleum, she's been able to see and talk to his ghost. Pepper would rather nab a job in Saks's shoe department and a handsome man with deep pockets than turn amateur sleuth. But in the absence of Prince Charming, she settles for investigating Gus's 30-year-old murder and lusting after a gorgeous cop and an enigmatic brain doctor. Without an engaging voice, the first third of the book drags; when it heats up, though, the carefully woven mystery helps compensate for what Pepper lacks, as does the well-defined and likable Gus. Indeed, despite some plot holes and flimsy characterizations, Daniels pulls the mystery together in the end, showing promise for a better book two. (May 30)

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