GHOST A LA MODE, A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery
by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Midnight Ink, September 2009, $14.95
Review by Jackie Houchin
With four successful Odelia Grey mysteries on the shelves, Sue Ann Jaffarian has turned from the paralegal to the paranormal mystery in her new Ghost of Granny Apples series. And while her characters are fresh and unusual, they are every bit as fascinating and likable.
With her divorce nearly final and her daughter about to leave for college, forty-something Emma Whitecastle is at loose ends. So when an old girlfriend begs Emma to join her at a séance, as part of a research project, she accepts.
At the séance, Clairvoyant Milo Ravenscroft tells Emma that a ghost from her family’s past needs her help – a woman who was hanged for murder. At first Emma laughs at the idea, wondering what kind of scam the man is running.
But when she suddenly starts craving apple pie and her father admits that her three-times-great grandmother – executed for killing her husband – once lived in the apple-growing town of Julian, Emma is unnerved.
But it’s a visit from Granny Apples’ ghost – insisting that she’s innocent – that convinces Emma to investigate the murder. What she discovers as she digs into Julian’s history stirs up a hornet’s nest of ghosts and villains who want Emma dead and gone.
Jaffarian’s talent for writing intriguing plots and cliffhanger chapters excels in the new series, and her vivid scenes of ghostly appearances and conversations are imaginative and often hilarious. There’s even a touch of romance. Granny Apples is just what the doctor ordered.
BOOBY TRAP, by Sue Ann Jaffarian, Midnight Ink, 2009
Plus-sized paralegal and part-time sleuth, Odelia Grey has married the love of her life and settled down to domestic docility. Ha! Those familiar with the series know that Odelia can’t stay out of trouble, and that before chapter one ends, she’ll be knee deep in another murder mystery.
In Booby Trap, a serial killer – dubbed the “Blond Bomber” because he prefers his victims blond and beautiful – is terrorizing L.A. A famous plastic surgeon who specializes in breast enhancement is a suspect. At least his mother – who has a few naughty habits of her own – suspects him. She begs Odelia to disprove her suspicions before the police catch on.
Odelia promised her new hubby she wouldn’t get involved in another dangerous situation, but proving someone is NOT the killer is safe, right?
Jaffarian starts the book with a bang, throws in clues and red herrings galore, amps the suspense with multiple plot twists, then delivers a double high-five conclusion and a denouement that will leave readers eager for book five.