A chill swept the room. I retreated until my back hit solid wood. I’d never seen a ghost or heard a ghost although I watched Ghost Hunters on television so I certainly believed in them and sweet Jesus I was trapped.
Title: Southern Spirits
Author: Angie Fox
Publisher: Angie Fox (Season Publishing), January 21, 2015
Format/Source: eBook provided from publisher via Netgalley*
Series: Southern Ghost Hunter
Verity Long doesn’t see dead people. At least, not until the night she dumps the contents of an antique vase onto her rose bushes and accidentally traps a gangster’s ghost on her property—a ghost that isn’t happy his urn was mistaken for a vase and he was taken for dirt. Verity has bigger issues on her mind, though; her jilted ex-fiancée and his family have turned her into the town pariah, and expect reimbursement for the costs of the failed nuptials. She’s sold off everything she has except her beloved antebellum home, which, without a miracle, will go on the market the next day. But, thanks to Frankie and his ability to let her see and communicate with ghosts, she might have a chance at saving her home—if she’s willing to work with her ex’s brother, Ellis.
Ellis Wydell is renovating a historic distillery, but some of its ghostly and more destructive residents haven’t taken kindly to his proposed changes. He needs Verity to use her new talents to satiate the spirits and prevent more damage. What Verity discovers is an even darker threat lurking in the shadows of the distillery, and she begins to question which is more dangerous: the living or the dead?
YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
- Verity and Ellis – Their relationship is awkward, a little angsty, and absolutely awesome.
- Frankie – Frankie the German is more than just a Prohibition era gangster with a bullet hole between his eyes. He’s downright devious, full of barbed comments, and a few decades behind the times (like 80 or so). He’s also surprisingly loyal and almost sensitive every once in a while.
- Everyone Else – They may be side characters but all of them, from Verity’s sister with her multiple half-finished college degrees to the slightly snobbish secretary in Mayor Steward’s office to Jilted Josephine, leave a lasting impression.
- Wilson’s Creek – The property doesn’t have just one spirit; it has several. Ghostly Rough Riders, gangsters, a jazz band, and even a horse all call the place home. And with secret rooms and hidden passages in its nine or more abandoned buildings, it’s a delightfully eerie setting for a mystery.
- The Humor – There’s a lot of funny going on in this novel’s narrative, from the Scooby Doo-ish opening chapters to the main ghost’s rocky revenge at the end.
- The Mystery – It takes a bit of time to get there (see below). But once Verity realizes that something more sinister and less ghostly is going on at Ellis’s property, and finds herself the next target, things really start to move. The clues and red herrings are fun to follow, the action is swift, and the culprit’s identity is a surprise.
YOU MIGHT NOT ENJOY:
- The (Almost) Missing Mystery – Essentially, what we have here is two separate novels: a prequel explaining how Verity meets Frankie the German and a mystery about a decades-old murder. Separately, they are both marvelous; together, they are disorienting. At Chapter 7, I re-read the summary to make sure that this novel was really supposed to be a mystery and not just a fun paranormal adventure. Happily, the transition into a mystery happened not long after that and was worth the wait.
Yes. The world Fox has created is alive with compelling characters and Southern charm. The mystery is suspenseful and blends nicely with the story’s paranormal elements; be warned, though, that the actual whodunit won’t start until almost halfway through the novel.
Fox is also the author of the popular Demon Slayer series.
* I received a free copy of this eBook from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.