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by Tonya Kappes
Witness Implulse, December 2016
338 pages
ISBN: 006246695X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Can a small-town Southern prom queen see the error of her mean-spirited ways after she dies? Emma Lee Raines is about to find out as she takes on yet another Betweener's murder investigation in the latest installment of Tonya Kappes's popular Ghostly Southern Mystery series. In A GHOSTLY REUNION, Emma Lee has organized her high school reunion but is less than pleased when one of the first arrivals is her nemesis Jade Lee Peel, prom-queen-turned-reality-star and one-time love of Emma Lee's boyfriend Jack Henry Ross. Jade Lee isn't in town five minutes before she's back to her mean-girl ways and trying to lure Jack Henry away from Emma Lee, but before they even get to the first gathering, Jade Lee is dead, and Emma Lee's friend Fluggie is in jail for the murder.

As with the previous novels in the series, A GHOSTLY REUNION is heavy on Southern stereotypes and small-town quirkiness and short on plot and character development, but fans of the series will have fun revisiting familiar characters, following Granny's antics, and watching Emma Lee and Jack Henry solve the mystery—even if that's a bit incidental what with all the family and small-town drama that gets played out. Overall, Kappes seems to have figured out how to get her characters and setting to work a little better for her than they did in the earlier novels, although there are still a lot of "filler" trips to Lexington and a coincidence at the end that's a bit too convenient. The most disappointing part of the novel is the rush to tie up loose ends at the finale followed by a tacked-on scene that seems to be included merely to entice the reader to buy the next novel. In spite of that, though, this is a fast, fun read that can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel even if you haven't read the previous ones.

§ Meredith Frazier, a writer with a background in English literature, lives in Dallas, Texas

Reviewed by Meredith Frazier, March 2017

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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