chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading Inspector Specter by EJ Copperman. It's part of the author's "Haunted Guesthouse" mystery series.

Innkeeper Alison's nemesis, Detective Anita McElone, comes to ask Alison for help. Although it pains her, because she doesn't believe in ghosts, McElone wants Alison to see if she can communicate with the ghost of her former police partner, who has died under mysterious circumstances.

Alison goes to Ferry's apartment, but he doesn't remember much about his death. However, he is able to provide information on cases he was working before he died, and Alison uses that as a starting point for her investigation. It would be simpler if she could talk to McElone, but the good detective seems to have disappeared, at least, according to her husband, she has. Now Alison must solve Detective Ferry's murder, find Detective McElone, and run her guesthouse, all while babysitting for her best friends' baby while they go away for a romantic cruise.

The story was fun, but not utterly engrossing. The plot seemed a bit convoluted, as Alison was dashing to and fro, trying to put the pieces together. Not helping is that one of her resident ghosts, Maxie, was acting even more odd than she normally does.

Favorite lines:
♦ There was a time when this sort of negotiation could have been done quickly and efficiently in a fraction of the time with actual conversation between the two parties, but technology had now advanced us to a point where a simple exchange could take half an hour.
♦ Babies are terrific audiences; they think the same joke is hilarious four thousand times in a row.
♦ If he'd been holding a stick and yelling something in fake Latin, he could have been one of Melissa's friends playing Harry Potter.


Not my favorite in this series. Only giving it a three:

***
chez_jae: (Books)
I spent a good portion of the day reading The Thrill of the Haunt by EJ Copperman. It's part of the author's "Haunted Guesthouse" mystery series.

Business at Alison's guesthouse is slow, and her resident ghost, PI Paul, is moping for lack of anything to do. When a woman hires Alison to tail her husband, in hopes of catching him cheating on her, Alison reluctantly takes on the case, both for the income and to perk Paul up.

In the meantime, a homeless man in town has been murdered, and a woman from Alison's past insists on hiring Alison to investigate. The man, Everett, had been claiming in the days before he was murdered that he was being threatened by a ghost. The woman who hires Alison does so in front of a group of her cronies, in an effort to humiliate Alison and out her as the "ghost lady", all in retaliation for the fact that Alison uncovered the woman's own adulterous affair previously.

Alison is soon at her wit's end, trying to run a guesthouse, keep her guests happy, juggle two investigations, figure out how to keep her new boyfriend, Josh, from learning she can see ghosts, take care of her daughter, and stop one of her guests from doing an exorcism on the house. When the alleged mistress in the cheating husband case is murdered, Alison has two murders on her plate, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

My, there was certainly a lot going on! I felt sorry for Alison, who was being pulled in so many different directions that I'm surprised her head didn't explode. Her nemesis, Kerin, needed a punch in the face, and Josh became cool towards her when he sensed she was keeping something from him. The ending wasn't as satisfying as it could have been, because...

Spoiler Alert! )

Favorite line: Have you ever felt as if you were the slow-witted cousin at the Mensa family reunion?

Would have given this a five for its fast pace and intricate plotting. Instead, I'm knocking one star off for the aggravation:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I began reading Chance of a Ghost yesterday, and I finished it this evening. It's part of author EJ Copperman's "Haunted Guesthouse" mystery series.

With winter upon the Jersey shore, Alison has only two guests in her old Victorian, along with her daughter and the two resident ghosts. Alison plans to use the down time to work on renovations, but she is drawn into another ghostly investigation when she learns that her widowed mother has been seeing her father...his ghost, that is. Now, however, Alison's father has gone missing, and the only person who claims to have information is another ghost. Lawrence Laurentz claims he was murdered, and he wants Alison to investigate his death in exchange for information regarding her father.

Soon enough, Alison's investigation turns into a group effort. Not only are Paul and Maxie involved, but so is her mother and her ten year-old daughter. Also drawn into the drama are Alison's two guests. The husband is a retired cop, and he takes to the investigation with gusto. Alison has her hands full with her investigation, motherhood, and making sure the ghostly aspect of the investigation is kept secret from her guests.

Fun, fast-paced story. Alison reconnects with a childhood friend, who seems to be a new, romantic interest. Her interactions with Murray, the snowplow driver, are priceless, and it's satisfying to see her coming into her own as a private investigator.

Favorite lines:
♦ Maraschino cherries are an abomination.
♦ They already thought I was a raving lunatic; It would be worse if they thought I was an unaccommodating raving lunatic.
♦ This was a girl who had held her ground for six straight days when told she couldn't attend a midnight showing of a Harry Potter movie, and had worn me down.
♦ ...the Volvo's heating system was roughly as efficient as the United States Congress, which is to say it made a lot of noise but got very little done.


Good story, five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
I stayed up late last night to finish Old Haunts, by EJ Copperman. It's the third book in the "Haunted Guesthouse" mystery series.

Alison has her hands full trying to run her guesthouse and renovate the attic, but things get much more chaotic when Maxie, one of the resident ghosts, learns her ex-husband's body has been found and that he was the victim of foul play. Maxie wants Alison to find out what happened to Big Bob. Meanwhile, the other resident ghost, Paul, has asked Alison to locate the woman he was on the verge of proposing to before he died. As if that wasn't enough, Alison's ex-husband Steven (aka the Swine) shows up, trying to worm his way back into the affections of his daughter and Alison. When one of Big Bob's friends hires Alison to look into the murder, things really get interesting.

Needless to say, there was a lot going on, and the book was a real page turner! Alison's observations about Steven were hilarious. Alison's living client, Luther, appears to be a possible romantic interest for her, while Steven begins spending time with one of Alison's guests. The interactions between Alison and Maxie are strained at times and poignant at others. The book was full of interesting twists and turns, in both of Alison's "cases" and with her ex-husband.

Favorite line: Chasing after delinquent payers must have been a remarkably demoralizing job.

Fun story, five of five!

♦♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Earlier this evening, I finished reading An Uninvited Ghost by EJ Copperman. It's the second in the "Haunted Guesthouse" mystery series.

Alison's home has been renovated, and now she is finally able to open for business. Her first guests are several senior citizens who are intrigued with the notion of staying at a haunted guesthouse. Alison has gotten her two resident ghosts to cooperate by putting on regular "shows" for the guests. In exchange, Alison had to get her private investigator license and promise Paul that she will assist him with any investigations he wishes to conduct. She never expected anyone to seek out a dead detective, but as luck would have it, another ghost has come to Paul (and Alison, by default) for help.

Scott was recruited to play a prank on an old lady, but he fears he may have accidentally killed her. He wants Paul and Alison to find out for sure if the woman is alive or dead. Alison discovers that the woman is very much alive, that is until she joins Alison's guests for a seance and is murdered in the guesthouse.

In the meantime, a reality TV production has contracted with Alison to film at her home, which she quickly comes to regret. When one of their main stars goes missing, the producer asks Alison to investigate the girl's disappearance.

There was a lot going on with the plot, but I never felt like it was a jumbled mish-mash. The action was fast-paced, as you can imagine, and Alison is as sharp-witted and sarcastic as usual when dealing with all of the monkey wrenches being thrown her way.

Four clovers:

♣♣♣♣
chez_jae: (Books)
I stayed up too late on Thursday night to finish a book, but I had to know "whodunit"! The book was Night of the Living Deed by EJ Copperman. It is the first book in the "Haunted Guesthouse Mystery" series.

The story was told in first person pov by the main character, Alison. She is recently divorced from The Swine and looking to make a new start. Alison returns to her home town on the Jersey Shore with her daughter, and she buys an old Victorian, which she wants to restore and open as a guesthouse. Alison got a good deal on the house because the former owner died there, along with a private investigator, in what was ruled a double suicide.

While Alison is handling most of the renovations herself, odd things keep happening. When she is struck on the head, she can see the ghosts of Maxie and Paul. They insist they were murdered and ask Alison to investigate.

The author did a good job of introducing several potential suspects, and I was guessing right up to the reveal. The book was charming and funny, and I am looking forward to reading others in the series.

Four stars:

★★★★

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