Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels

Pepper Martin Series, #1

Source: Purchased

She sees dead people
Beautiful, smart, and chic, Pepper Martin never had to work a day in her life -- until her surgeon daddy was convicted of fraud, her wealthy fiancé took a powder, and the family fortune ran bone dry.

Suddenly desperate, the inexperienced ex-rich girl was forced to take the only job she could get: as a tour guide in a cemetery. But a grave situation took a turn for the worse when a head-on collision with a headstone left her with an unwanted ability to communicate with the disgruntled deceased . . . and now Pepper has a whacked Mafia don demanding that she hunt down his killers -- and threatening to haunt her until she does.

Don of the Dead is the first book in cute, quirky cozy mystery series. At first I was a bit put off by the overly fluffy tone and how the main character and writer seems to take everything so lightly, but I soon fell into the story and ended up enjoying myself.

After Piper hits her head on a long-dead mobster's gravestone, she can now see and communicate with the ghost. The don wants her to solve his death because he's ready to move on, and there's a mystery in itself on the real reason behind that. As would be expected with the mobster type, he only reveals what he thinks he has to, keeping a lot of secrets close to his chest. Piper goes back and forth between freaking out she can see a ghost, doubting her sanity, and starting to get into the investigating.

The story was a good one - once you get past Piper's obsession with her looks and the fluffy writing style, it was interesting that she had to meet with some former mobster's, surviving children, interview people of a crime long past, and juggle between a suspicious scientist who is following her around and yummy but irritated cop who wonders where she's getting her information from.

I found Gus's character endearing, especially when he's protective over her with the men she dates. He's not a "good guy", but he's an enjoyable character. I've read four books of the series so far, and the first book and ghost remain my favorite of the lot, with the third coming in behind as a close tie.

If you like cute cozies, you'll probably enjoy this one as much as I did. Sometimes Piper comes across as borderline airheaded, but throwing in the contrast of her personality being gifted with this unusual talent makes satifsying, humorous clashes. The cemetary tour guide stuff and chipper boss who sees no wrong in her employee also paints a fun touch. The mystery itself is intriguing and the ending is excellent, wrapping it up with a few surprises that I wouldn't have previously guessed.

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