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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 Haunt (Dead Man Mysteries, #2)

Dead Man Haunt - T.M. Simmons

This one just tried too hard.  Definitely not as good as the first book.


Alice and Aunt Twila are off on a ghost hunting adventure in an old, abandoned, historic hotel scheduled for demolition, in a sleepy Texas town.  The hotel is crazy with ghosts and one in particular – a gorgeous hunk of a man-ghost who keeps appearing to them naked – has convinced them to assist him on his quest to cross over to the other side.  On a private tour, they discover the dead body of a woman dressed in 20's flapper-style at the bottom of an elevator shaft - very obviously murdered.


The story is full of ghostly, haunting fun but otherwise, the writing was much weaker and could have been oh-so-tighter.  Disproportionate animosity from the Sheriff is never really explained, motives for some characters are tacked on and there are way too many characters; everything is overly complicated and the story suffers under it's own weight.  There's no flow.  There is, however, an hysterical scene involving skunks. 


The murder and it's resolution also suffered under its own weight of crazy motivations, too many suspects and completely unbelievable actions and reactions on the part of all the participants.  The ending, the final confrontation, was just well, ridiculous.  The author shoved a metaphysical sex scene into the middle of her confrontation with a ghost, with no segues, no explanation and, it seems, no reason beyond the fact that she really wanted that sex to happen before the book ended. 


I'm not sorry I read it, or re-read it, or kept it all these years, but I can look at it and say, in spite of the ghostly fun, that yeah, it's not a well-written book.