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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Dead Man Talking (Dead Man Mystery, #1)

Dead Man Talking - T.M. Simmons

Pure ghost story.  Perfect for Halloween for those of us who do not like horror but enjoy a good, sort of spooky, ghost tale.  I deducted a half-star because there were a noticeable number of copyright errors throughout the text.  Missing "a" or "an" type of things.  Annoying.

 

Alice is an author and ghost-hunter holed up in her haunted cabin in East Texas trying to finish her novel when she received a call from her childhood friend and cousin, Katy, begging her to come and get rid of her resident ghost, Sir Gary, who is driving her crazy.  This is soon followed up by a frantic, hysterical phone call from Katy telling Alice she's just found a dead body in her pool, so she has to come now!  Alice packs up the car, and she, her dog and one of her cats high-tail it to Katy's plantation home to help her avoid being arrested for murder.  Alice not only needs to help Sir Gary cross over, but now she has to find out the identity of the dead body, and more importantly: where is his head??

 

The author has a great cast of characters here, although Alice's dialogue is sometimes a little defensive in a way that comes across as self-important.  This is most noticeable in the first few chapters; once she has someone other than the reader to talk to, it's not as bad.  Granny is typical in that fictional-granny way; non-conformist and a hillbilly to boot.  Aunt Twila is the calm voice of reason when things go pear-shaped and Jack, Alice's ex-husband, lead investigator, and avowed disbeliever is there as the devil's advocate.

 

90% of the action in the story takes place in the plantation house, so the author has her leisure to vividly sketch out the setting for the reader.  As a result, there's a strong sense of place as the story unfolds and the action ratchets up.  Alice sustains an unbelievable number of minor bruises, scrapes and cuts but they never seem to slow her down; this starts to become quite hard to swallow towards the end, but I suppose if I had a ghost chasing me, I'd not quibble about how sore I am either.

 

The mystery - I've read this book several times, but I'd forgotten how this one ends.  I didn't remember until probably about the same time I'd have figured out the murderer the first time, so I think it's pretty well plotted out.

 

The book is not without its flaws but it was a fun read nevertheless.  There's a bit of a creepy factor but the author deals lightly with it, so I was just a little creeped out.  I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say: babydoll.  

 

This was originally published by Five Star Mysteries, and there was a second book published, but it appears the author has bought back the rights and is self publishing the first two, and has added a third, Dead Man Hand.