Published: January 1, 2011
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Obtained via: Publisher
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com
After helping resident ghosts Paul and Maxie find their killer Alison Kerby has not only completed the renovations on her Jersey Shore guest house, she has also gotten her private investigator’s license. Her agreement with Paul is she’ll take on cases, when she can, as long as they don’t endanger her or her daughter Melissa. Of course, since she hasn’t hung a “P.I.” shingle she’s not too worried about finding clients…or clients finding her so she’s good to go with her guest house. Now about that guest house—the big draw, at least for some, is the promise of some ghostly encounters, provided courtesy of Paul and Maxie.
But Paul isn’t quite ready to move and away from the P.I. business. In fact he’s found a whole new business angle—solving cold case murders but introducing deceased victims to Alison and having her track down their killers. When Paul shows up with Scott McFarlane Alison is at first confused—Scott isn’t worried about how he died—he’s concerned that he may have killed someone else. Despite her best intentions and hopes, Paul convinces Alison she had least needs to check out Scott’s story. Figuring it should be fairly easy to find out if a woman died in the old warehouse where Scott’s incident happened Alison heads down to the police department with some questions. As one thing leads to another she meets the supposed victim who is actually perfectly okay. That is she is okay until she turns up dead at one of the ghostly shows at Alison’s guest house.
I really enjoyed book one of E.J. Cooperman’s Haunted Guesthouse series, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED so I was eager to delve into book 2, AN UNINVITED GHOST. Sadly AN UNINVITED GHOST suffers from what I’m starting to feel is “secondbookitis”. It seems more and more I totally enjoy book 1 of a series and look forward to book 2. But something seems to happen along the way—I’m not sure if the author loses momentum or if book 1 is so well conceived that it is a tough act to follow or if my expectations are too high, but lately it seems the second books fall way below the first. AN UNINVITED GHOST is such a book.
At times it felt like the author lost interest, or ran out of time or just didn’t know where to go with his Topper-like ghosts. The idea of a ghost wanting some answers about something he did or didn’t do was interesting but the story just didn’t deliver.
Initially Scott is able to read messages left for him about setting up the victim of what is billed as an innocent prank. But then it turns out Scott is blind. Then Scott can travel around at will with no problem finding his way – and that’s without GPS or other tracking devices. And then, toward the end of the book the author throws in a mediocre explanation which read more like someone pointed out “hey, the guy is blind, how did he read the messages?” causing the author to throw in an explanation. Instead of making it plausible or re-writing a scene in the beginning to make the reason credible, it’s just added like an afterthought later in the book. It didn’t work for me.
In NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED the characters had such great one liners. The author’s own New Jerseyian personality came out with some wonderfully done witty repartee. None of that came through in book 2. It was almost like someone entirely different wrote the book because that fast-paced, wonderful storytelling was gone in this book.
And most disappointing wasn’t so much who did it, but what happened to them. It made the book more of a weak paranormal than a cozy mystery.
Since the pattern seems to be a great first book, a slow “why am I reading this” second book followed by a really good third book I will continue to at least the next book in the series. If you like somewhat funny ghost stories give AN UNINVITED GHOST a try.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.