Series: Marie Jenner #1
Format Read: eGalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 29, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords*
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Blurb from goodreads:
Marie Jenner has never had much luck. Her job sucks. Her apartment — the one with the unbreakable lease — has a ghost. And worst of all, her mother won’t let up about her joining the “family business.” Since that business is moving the spirits of the dead on to the next plane of existence and doesn’t pay at all, Marie’s not interested. She wants a normal job — a normal life. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Apparently, it is. Even when she applies for the job of her dreams, Marie doesn’t get what she wants. Well, not entirely. She does get the job — but she also gets another ghost. Farley Hewitt, the newly dead caretaker of the building, wants her to prove his death is not an accident, and she’s pretty sure he’s going to haunt her until she does.
All she wants is normal. She isn’t going to get it.
That cover is freaking gorgeous. Another reader compared it to an Impressionist panting, and it really does have some of those qualities. The cover and the blurb sold me. Ghosts, a mystery, a woman trying to have a normal life; I wanted this book.
Well, the book is everything the blurb says but it fell flat. In part, it was too long. It needed tightening; the pace was too slow and there were details and events that weren't necessary. I also got quite annoyed with Marie. I can understand being reluctant to having the gift of helping ghosts move along, especially when you can't turn it off or get rid of it. But, for years she has refused to listen her mother, who also has the gift. During the story, although she knows she needs help, she refuses to ask her mother until it's almost too late. She pouts, she sulks, she refuses to be pro-active. It got to be ridiculous, the excuses Bell came up with for why Marie wouldn't ask for help. Marie makes many stupid mistakes, but to her credit, she does try to learn from them.
The other characters; her mother, her annoyingly tyrannical boss, her would-be boyfriend, her best friend and the police are all interesting, if a little predictable. I liked James, the building handyman and Marie's would-be boyfriend. I guessed his secret early on, it was obvious (to me anyway) but he was well developed although he could be a PITA with how aggressively he pursued Marie and his reluctance to accept her refusal to date him. Farley, the ghost, was quite a personality; he was no Casper! Although he was friendly, if sometimes overbearing, and quite stubborn and opinionated.
The mystery was complicated with twists that genuinely took me by surprise. I enjoyed Marie's amateurish sleuthing and her garden variety predicaments of daily living. Some of the predicaments that result from events in the book were over the top and it often read like a soap opera. With the slow pacing, Marie's frequent mulishness and occasional stupidity and over the top story lines, it was sometimes interesting, sometimes boring. That said, Marie grew during the story and she grew on me, so I would be willing to try the next book, when it comes out.