Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Retail Price: 7.99
The ghosts haunting Alison Kerby's Jersey Shore guesthouse are sad. Maxie wants to know who murdered her ex-husband, and Paul pines for his still-living almost-fiancee. The only one who isn't missing her ex is Alison-because The Swine just arrived on her doorstep...
Single mother Alison Kerby seems to be taking this whole “I own a haunted guest house” thing in stride. She and resident ghosts Maxie and Paul have settled into a pretty good rhythm, and she’s even worked out a deal with a tour company to bring in groups who’ll pay extra for twice-daily spook shows. Unfortunately for Alison, though, after months of doing duty as the in-house entertainment, Maxie and Paul want something in return.
Paul is desperate to find out what's become of the woman he was planning to marry when he got killed. And as for Maxie, her ex-husband just turned up dead and she wants Alison to help solve his murder. Alison isn't particularly excited to undertake either investigation – the last time she poked her nose where it didn't belong, it almost got her killed – but without the ghosts' cooperation, her business will suffer, and besides, she's grown kind of fond of her two otherworldly roommates. Are her sleuthing skills up to the task? There's only one way for Alison to find out...
Old Haunts is the third in author E.J. Copperman’s Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series, and it’s quite simply a joy to read. This book has it all: action, drama, humor, intrigue, and a genuinely likeable and well-developed cast. The pace is quick, the prose is smart and wickedly funny, and the central mystery will keep you guessing until the very end. There are a lot of different storylines at play in Old Haunts, but Copperman does a magnificent job of weaving them all together, the end result being a rich and complex plot that’s twisty and turn-y and just plain fun.
The dialogue is sharp and snappy and has a fantastic rhythm to it, and Copperman's character work is truly top-notch. Alison is a strong, independent heroine who’s fluent in sarcasm and makes for a wonderfully engaging narrator. Her relationships with the book's supporting cast – from Maxie and Paul, to her young daughter Melissa, to the guests at her inn – are realistic and nuanced, and only serve to add depth and texture to everyone involved. Snarky, cool, and tough as nails (but with a secret marshmallow center), Roxy is the big sister every little girl dreams of having and the kind of ghost you'd pay good money to have haunting your house. Even Alison’s ex-husband, The Swine, is a compelling character. While most authors would treat his reappearance in their heroine’s life as an Emotional Complication – something that makes the main character realize she’s sad and lonely and in need of love – Copperman merely uses him to accent Alison’s strength and self-sufficiency. She knows from the start that he’s still the same Swine that he was when he left, and she never for a second entertains the thought of a reunion. She can’t quite figure out what he’s after, but she’s determined not to let him have it – even if that means repeatedly disabusing Melissa of the notion that he’s ever going to be a part of their family again.
I’m a sucker for comedic mysteries, and I’m a sucker for supernatural mysteries. Old Haunts by E.J. Copperman is the perfect blend of both.
Reviewed by Kat
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