That Old Flame of Mine
Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery, Book #1
By J. J. Cook
ISBN# 9780425252048

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

After catching her boyfriend cheating, fire fighter Stella Griffin decides its time for a temporary change of scenery.    So she hops on her Harley and leaves Chicago and heads for the small town of Sweet Pepper, Tennessee where they are in need of a fire chief to get their own volunteer fire brigade running.  The job is temporary as she is planning to go back home after her three month stint is over, where she’ll hopefully have had time to cool down from her recent heartbreak.

Sweet Pepper is a charming little town where news travels fast and everybody knows not only your name (cue the Cheers theme song), but your whole life story!

Stella quickly adjusts to her new job as fire chief, training the volunteers and tackling any issues that arise.  The town has put her up in the cabin up the road from the fire station that is rumored to be haunted by the town’s former fire chief, Eric Gamlyn, who was killed shortly before the disbandment of the original fire brigade.  Stella doesn’t believe in ghosts, but when this one starts talking to her, she can’t help, but to become a believer!

Shortly after arriving in Sweet Pepper the fire brigade is called into action.  To Stella’s dismay it’s to her new friend, Tory’s, house where Stella finds her friend dead.  But it appears that Tory died before the fire, if only she could convince the police chief of that!  Stella must find a way to prove that there is foul play afoot to have any chance of getting justice for the dearly departed.

I thought this book sounded cute and decided to give a try.  It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, I found myself really enjoying it!  I can definitely relate to the small town dynamic, coming from a small town myself, where nothing is ever really secret!

Most books you read that involve a ghost don’t get too specific on the details of the ghost.  That was not the case in this story.  In fact, this poltergeist was probably my favorite character in the whole book!  I loved his interactions with Stella and found myself laughing at comments and reactions he made when other people, ones that can’t hear him, were around!

I also really liked Stella’s potential love interest, John.  He seems like quite the little sweetie!  He’s definitely somebody that could tempt you into staying on in the small town life a little bit longer!

Stella also learns more about her own family, including family secrets, while staying in Sweet Pepper that she never expected to uncover.

This was a nice start to an interesting new series!  I just hope with the discovery at the end of this book, an obvious segue into the next installment, doesn’t lead to the end of Eric’s haunting!  Like I said before, I really like him:)