Sunday, March 4, 2018

GHOST ON THE CASE by Carolyn Hart


Publisher:     Berkley
Published:     October 3, 2017
ISBN:        978-0451488565
Genre:      Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Heavenly emissary Bailey Ruth Raeburn has been summoned post-haste to Adelaide, Oklahoma one again and there is no time to waste.  This time it appears a young woman has been kidnapped and her sister is desperate to get her hands on the ransom money to free her.  Susan Gilbert is frantic to find her sister and even with Bailey Ruth’s assurances, spends a frightening and tense night.  She got her hands on the ransom money easy enough—she broke into her boss’s home, went into his safe and grabbed the money.

The next morning, in an attempt to keep her life as normal as possible she heads off to work.  When she arrives, however, it is to find that her boss, the same man she stole the money from, is dead.  Of course her fingerprints are spread throughout the house since she works there.  And the box of money sitting her trunk sure makes her look suspects.  Even with Bailey Ruth’s guidance in no time flat Susan is labelled a person of interest and Mayor Lumpkin wants her arrested post haste.  Even the inimitable Bailey Ruth may not be able to save the day on this one.

I’ve enjoyed a number of the books in Carolyn Hart’s Bailey Ruth Ghost series.  Her latest, GHOST ON THE CASE, was not exactly my favorite.  I believe her dedication may give insight into why this book fell short of the earlier books—it is dedicated to her husband of 58 years, Paul’s memory.  There are many issues with the story that make it such a different read than the prior books.  More than once I wondered where the editor was on this one.

The story’s concept was solid—a young woman will do anything, including steal from her well-liked employer, to save her sister.  There were any number of inconsistencies in the book—she drives off without her car lights on and then is suddenly turning them off.  Way later she mentions that she turned the lights on later on—it was like she caught the mistake but instead of going back and correcting it where it occurred a line about the lights was just thrown in.  Not only is information from past books repeated over and over, the same information inside this book is also repeated.  My thought at the end was Hard would have done better writing a novella rather than repeating so much information that it started to look like she was trying to meet a word count than to tell a story.  I missed Bailey Ruth’s usually visits to her family and other individuals she has helped in her home town. 

I’m not giving up on this series.  This happens in series – they get to the end of their run and need a new direction.  Sometimes the author can make the turn and sometimes they can’t.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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