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by Casey Daniels
Avon, September 2007
320 pages
ISBN: 0060821507

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Pepper Martin used to be rich and pampered, but when her father was arrested her life changed and now she works as a cemetery tour guide. After an accident she found she has the special gift of being able to speak to the dead. When she helped one ghost attain his resting place, she discovers that her reputation of helping spirits is all around the ghostly community and she's being hired as an investigator for other dead people.

Now 30-year dead famous rock star Damon Curtis contacts her for help. It seems that after Damon died of an overdose back in the 1970s, one of the other band members has been using Black Magic to channel Damon's talent for his own use. The band member, Vinnie Pallucci, has been forcing Damon to help him write songs that have kept the band's name good over the years. But now Damon sees that the channeling is wasting him away and he asks Pepper to tell Vinnie to leave him alone before there's nothing left to his spirit that can pass on to a final resting place.

Pepper already has her hands full. She's doing her best to keep her job at the cemetery while living on a budget and trying to hold her head up after her father's incarceration. Her ex-fiancé, Joel, has just shown up and demanded she return the engagement ring he gave her and Pepper doesn't want to do that, especially after hearing that he wants it back to give to his new fiancée!

As Pepper investigates for Damon, she finds that she's becoming more and more attracted to him, a man who was hot as fire to woman alive, and still has that charm, even though as a ghost his touch is freezing.

After she has a long chat with Vinnie, letting him know that his Black Magic channeling has been harming Damon, terrible things start happening to the former band members who have reunited to make a new album. Pepper soon sees that she has a living murderer to stop and that her own life might be in jeopardy too.

This is the third book in this series and the first I've read. The premise of a 20-something attractive woman being a PI for the late and dearly departed is an interesting one that has a lot of possibilities. It just doesn't gel for this series.

TOMBS OF ENDEARMENT isn't so much a cozy murder mystery as it is a chick lit story about an attractive young woman and her life. She just happens to have the talent of speaking to the dead. She's yet another amateur investigator who feels as if she has a right to ask everyone a myriad questions as she tries to uncover the identity of the bad guy. Unfortunately she has no talent to be a detective and has no intuition to solve crimes.

Pepper spends more time thinking about her next outfit and her ability to either attract men or to get them to do her bidding then she does actually figuring out the facts that will solve the crime. Her real interest in this book revolves around her lust and then love for the dead Damon. That there's a real live murderer around only takes up a little of her time and the middle of the book seems to simply go on and on with no real forward movement to the story.

TOMBS OF ENDEARMENT isn't for lovers of good murder mysteries -- it's for readers who love romance, no matter if the lovers be living or dead.

Reviewed by A. L. Katz, December 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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