Spouse on Haunted Hill
A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #8
By E.J. Copperman
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Where Alison Kerby’s ex-husband goes, trouble follows. This time, unfortunately, he’s brought that trouble right to her doorstep. On the run from a business deal gone bad, Steven, aka “the Swine,” owes some scary people a staggering sum of money. No need to panic, though. He has a plan: sell Alison’s Jersey Shore guesthouse to pay them off.
Before Alison has a chance to read Steven the riot act, he disappears—after a mysterious man trailing him ends up full of bullet holes. Now the police are next to darken her doorway. For all his faults, Steven is still the father of Alison’s daughter, so with the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, Alison sets out to find her ex and clear him of the murder. But if the bad guys get to him first, he may not have a ghost of a chance…(Goodreads)
A swine of an ex-husband, mob ties, and a distracted ghost all come together to make an entertaining, well crafted mystery in Spouse on Haunted Hill.
Before I even open a book in the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series, I know I am in for a good time with proprietor Alison and her ghosts. The premise of a reluctant working mom who gets her private investigator’s license so that her housebound PI ghost can help other ghosts through her is great. In Spouse on Haunted Hill, the mystery hits much closer to home. Alison is surprised to see her ex-husband Steven, whom she not so lovingly refers to as “the Swine”, disembark their daughter’s flight. He tries to play it off as no big deal, but Alison knows her ex well, and trouble has definitely followed him from California to New Jersey. A business deal has gone wrong, and one of the investors wants his money back – money that Steven does not have. When Alison learns that his next plan involves her guesthouse, she is ready to kick him to the curb. But when a man who tailed Steven winds up dead, and Steven disappears, Alison cannot help but want to clear his name. After all, he is still her daughter’s father. In addition to Steven’s troubles, resident ghost Paul thinks he is ready to move on. Thus ensue mayhem, deduction, danger, and maybe a happy ending or two.
I am a fan of paranormal cozies, and what I especially like about this series is that Copperman portrays life with ghosts as completely possible. There is nothing cutesy or haunted house-ish here, just a relatable main character who happens to see and live with ghosts. There is even a ghostly dog that triggers Alison’s allergies. There are no hard and fast rules with the ghost world so readers never know what to expect, and the stories always seem fresh. Alison is a level headed protagonist who never really puts herself in those “too stupid to live” situations. Not to say she does not find herself in precarious and dangerous situations, she just can usually find a way out. I love her snarkiness, and her sense of humor appeals to me. Her family, including daughter Melissa, her mother, and ghostly father, are all a hoot. Resident ghosts Maxie and Paul offer totally different personalities and perspectives to the mix, and love interest Josh is sweet.
The mystery within the pages is well written and moves along at a brisk pace. There are so many viable scenarios and suspects to consider, and I did not see a final twist coming. I do not like Steven at all (I am sure we are not supposed to), but his smarmy moves and untrustworthiness provide a nice backdrop to the mystery.
I really liked Spouse on Haunted Hill and recommend it to fans of the series and those who enjoy a dollop of ghosts in their cozy.