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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
Old Haunts - E.J. Copperman The only problem with "cozy mysteries" is that sometimes they're a little too cozy, too comfortable and absent much of a sense of danger.

Old Haunts is a charming novel, but I found my interest flagging at times.

Alison Kerby owns a guesthouse, a kind of bed and breakfast, absent the breakfast, because Alison, by her own admission, is a terrible cook. Instead of homecooked meals, however, Alison's guests get ghosts. Yep, ghosts. Her Jersey Shore guesthouse is haunted by two ghosts, Maxie and Paul. From time to time, for some of Alison's special guests, Paul and Maxie put on poltergeist shows.

When Maxie's ex-husband, a biker named Big-Bob is found murdered, Maxie prods Alison (who is a PI, sort of) to find the killer. Soon after, another biker named Luther, hires Alison, also to find Big-Bob's killer. Meanwhile, Paul wants Alison to find his ex-fiancee and make sure she is okay.

Alison isn't terribly interested in the first case, but takes it because she needs the money (from Luther, the paying customer). She agrees to find Paul's fiancee as a favor. Complicating matters is the arrival of Alison's ex-husband, aka, The Swine, who seems to be desperate for reconciliation. Alison would just love to kick him to the curb, except her young daughter, Melissa, is delighted to have Dad back.

The strength of Old Haunts is the author/protagonist's voice. Frequently breaking the fourth wall, and slinging snarky humor with abandon, Alison is a fun protagonist.

The weakness, and my reason for the "It's was okay" 3-stars, is that the pacing is slow, largely because Alison is almost indifferent to solving the murder case, and her determination to do things all by herself--even though she has no clue how to proceed--in finding Paul's fiancee is almost annoying. There's a definite lack of any urgency. Or danger.

Cute. I may look up earlier books in the series.