Thursday, May 10, 2012
I had reviewed #6 in the series (Tomb with a View - click here), and #7 (A Hard Day's Fright - click here). I did not want to wait until October to read this paranormal, so bare with me. I will have one or two more paranormal spread out in the next couple of months. They are just a fun break.
Author: Casey Daniels
Copyright: January 2012 (Berkley) 304 pgs
Series: 8th in Pepper Martin Mysteries
Sensuality: adult references
Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Amateur Sleuth
Main Characters: Pepper Martin, ghost whisperer
Setting: Modern day, New Mexico and Antonito Colorado
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
The ending of book number seven in the series had a significant development in Pepper's life that I don't want to spoil here. I will purposefully not mention that aspect which may cause some to have questions. The story opens at a Cleveland Indians game with Quinn. Quinn and Pepper have a tenuous truce going, but he will not discuss her gift and she is frustrated. At home, Pepper receives a postcard from an old scientist friend, Dan, that he will be visiting Cleveland and wants to see her. But the very next letter is a ransom demand saying that Dan will die unless the bones of the infamous Indian who cursed Cleveland's baseball team, Chester Goodshot Gomez, are dug up and delivered at a location in New Mexico. So Pepper breaks into Goodshot's mausoleum and absconds with his bones. Thus begins an adventure in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, full of dust and danger. Naturally, Chester Goodshot Gomez's ghost is going where his bones go, and he becomes an unlikely sidekick. The exchange of bones for Dan doesn't go well and Pepper is on the local Native American tribal cop's radar. Which she doesn't mind since she finds Jesse mucho attractive.
Pepper has some good and bad moments in this. She comes across like a spoiled prima donna in some spots, which the character seemed to have grown out of that - until now. Then there are other parts where she is sensitive and determined, not worried about her nails more than people. Jesse is a great character. His native beliefs allow him to understand Pepper and her gift, whether she wants him to or not. Jesse affirms to Pepper that what she is doing with ghosts, walking with both worlds, is important and special. I liked Jesse so much, I am hoping somehow he will be back again. The relationship between them moves very quickly, and I felt if was so quick it cheapened it. Chester Goodshot Gomez is a hoot and memorable in his own right.
The setting is the great southwest, small towns, dusty, rugged, and the great unknown for Pepper. The change of location was a good shake-up for the series. At first, I wasn't sure how I would like the western location, but it worked well. I liked it so much I hoped Pepper might extend her stay for another book or two, but no. The Native American Pueblo culture was a great backdrop, and the native mysticism was icing on this cake.
The plot seems thin at first, maybe even contrived. But that quickly changes and the plot gets more complications and depth. The pace was steady and avoided lagging. The climax was nicely setup and well played out. The wrap up had some surprises for Pepper, and ultimately the expected return to Cleveland was a little bit of a disappointment.
This was a good book in the series and the change of location allowed Pepper to see how she could be appreciated for her gift. While still a fun book, it feels as though it was intended to setup the next chapter in Pepper's life rather than being fully in it's own moment. Pepper fans will not want to miss this.