Book review: Night of the Living Deed

Night of the Living Deed (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery Book 1)
by E.J. Copperman (2010)

night of the living deed book cover

Newly divorced Alison Kerby wants a second chance for herself and her nine-year-old daughter, so she’s returned to her home town on the Jersey Shore to transform a fixer-upper into a charming—and hopefully profitable—guest house. But when a bump on the head leaves her seeing not only stars but spirits, Alison realizes the real challenge she’s facing is out of this world.

The two residing ghosts are Maxie Malone, the foul-tempered former owner of the house (who has definite opinions about Alison’s design plans), and Paul Harrison, a private eye who’d been working for Maxie—both died in the house on the same night. The official cause of death was suicide, but the ghosts insist they were murdered, and they need Alison to find out who killed them—or the next ghost in the guest house will be Alison herself…

It was such a joy to discover a very confident narrative voice in a book, matched with a sassy, self-aware main character who you can visualise turning to the camera for a little quip about her own quirks and mess-ups. (Respect, Alison.)

I bought this book looking for a ghostly thrill and got an unexpected new take on the haunted house. I missed out on the scare, but had a whole lot of fun instead and wound up thoroughly satisfied with friendly ghosts that I’m keen to see more of as the series unfolds. Even the slightly-bratty Maxie showed a vulnerable side by the end… a bit.

It’s light enough to be YA but sassy enough to charm any age. Hoping for slightly meatier mysteries in the next books but yeah, I’m going there for sure.

I am a little disappointed that PI-Paul is a ghost, it’s messing with my fantasies but I admit it is the perfect writerly rouse for an ongoing sexual tension that can’t be resolved (and thus ruined).

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