Published: December 27, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
In addition to her job as the undertaker of Eternal Slumber funeral home Emma Lee Raines has two other jobs. One is as a “Betweener” where she helps people who were recently murdered find their killers and have them cross over. The other is a temporary job of putting together her high school reunion. That she has undertaken the reunion is actually quite a feat since in high school she was known as “the creepy funeral home girl”, a moniker given to her by the most popular girl in school, Jade Lee Peel.
Emma Lee has moved beyond all that high school drama…sort of. Jade Lee dated Emma’s Lee’s one great love, Jack Henry. Jack Henry definitely feels the same way about Emma Lee. Thing is, no one has told Jade Lee who descends on the town in the hopes of recreating her high school romance…at least for her upcoming reality TV show. As Jade Lee goes around town stirring up situations for said reality TV show she alienates a number of the townsfolk. In fact she does so to one person too many because she suddenly becomes one of Emma Lee’s betweener clients.
On top of Emma Lee needing to help Jade Lee cross over, she’s also dealing with her sister Charlotte trying to take pieces of Eternal Slumber off to her new undertaking job over in Lexington. While Emma Lee puts family first, Charlotte always puts Charlotte first and latest antic is trying to hold Jade Lee’s funeral at her funeral home. Between the reunion and Charlotte’s actions can Emma Lee find the killer and get Jade Lee crossed over?
I never thought I’d see the day I would say a book starring an undertaker would be one of my favorite reads. Tonya Kappes Ghostly Southern series is totally one of my favorites. Kappes has such a great voice—definitely has the “Southern” down with some great phrases. Her characters are a great mix of steadfast and realistic to hilariously quirky. Then again, Zula Fae Raines Payne could be anyone’s grandmother who is determined to live life to the fullest no matter what it takes. Some of her antics are a bit much, but Emma Lee reins her in and turns what could be a really bad outcome into something that works well. Their relationship adds a lot of dimension to the stories.
I like how Kappes has developed the main characters both in and of themselves as well as how they interact with each other.
Charlotte ticks me off, big time. In each book she gets more and more self-absorbed, but it works because she’s the perfect foil for Emma Lee to come into her own. Charlotte is one of those people who always has to be perfect and expects the world to fall at her feet. I have to admit I had a nice fist pump moment when at one point in the book she looked pretty dishevelled. Yup, I really enjoyed it. And Charlotte still doesn’t seem to have learned her lesson.
Jade Lee, however, does go through quite a change once she’s on the other side. Kappes has some great imagery when it comes to Jade Lee – for instance when she talks about her tiara looking a bit tarnished (you’ll have to read the book to see what I mean.)
MINI-SPOILER…..there was one scene where I had an inkling of what was to come towards the end. And when I saw I was right I had to go back and read the last chapter not once, but twice more…then had to go back and read a few other passages in the book because, well, it just can’t be! No cheating if you pick this one up…do NOT read ahead….sit back and take it page by page and be surprised.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.