Monday, January 23, 2012

Haunted Guesthouse Mystery

A cozy ghost story sounds a bit like an oxymoron doesn’t it, but that is exactly what you get with E.J. Copperman’s “A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery” series. So far, readers can choose from two books, Night of the Living Deed and An Uninvited Ghost. A third story, Old Haunts will be released mid-February.

Cooperman is a pseudonym for an established author, but they are being tight lipped about whom he or she might be. On the other hand this means you are not taking a chance on a new author. This is not to say new authors are bad writers. I read lots of good new authors, but some folks are nervous about spending money on an unknown author. Don’t worry, I bought both these books, and I am very happy with them.

Supposedly, the author is from the Jersey Shore, and I believe it. The books have the right personality for the location. Most people judge Jersey based on Newark or the television program; big mistake. That is only a small microcosm of the state.

In Night of the Living Deed, recently divorced Alison Kirby and her daughter, Melissa purchase a large place and want to make it into a guesthouse. The previous resident, unhappy with the redecorating, smacks Alison with a paint can. Much to her consternation, Alison discovers she can now see and talk to ghosts – let the fun begin. The guesthouse contains two specters, the previous owner, Maxie, and the detective she hired, Paul. They were murdered, and need Alison’s help to find the killer.

The Guesthouse or the Ghosthouse received so much publicity during the first caper that Alison receives a number of requests from the living and the dead in An Uninvited Ghost. The living want to stay in a haunted house, and the dead want her to solve mysteries. The first one pays; the second one doesn’t. Alison must balance the two, but when one of her visitors dies, the two demands become one. For a bonus feature, a reality TV show will also be using the house. The mix creates some funny, yet deadly interactions.

Copperman plays loose with the ghost genre creating things as the story goes along, and breaking from accepted ghost theory. This may offend the traditionalist, who may consider Maxie and Paul poltergeists rather than ghosts since they can move objects. Cooperman also breaks from the tradition by making these stories more humor than horror. But it’s Copperman’s story, and ghost stories have a wide margin for writer’s prerogative. The stories work. They entertain, and I will be ready for Old Haunts in a couple of weeks.

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