Night of the Living Deed
A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery
by E.J. Copperman
The Berkley Publishing Group
E.J. Copperman: mystery writer, writer of mystery. Little is known about E.J. Copperman, except that this writer is also a screenwriter and freelance journalist who has written for a wide range of national publications. And he?she lives in New Jersey, significant because that is where this first in the Haunted Guesthouse series is set.
In a climate that elevates vampires and werewolves to superstar status and treats people who commune with spirits as ethereal problem-solvers, was it really going to be long before a mystery involved ghosts not as perpetrators of mysterious occurrences but as clients for the amateur detective?
No, but it was unexpected anyway.
Alison Kerby’s involvement with otherworldly characters begins as she is resurrecting her own life. Divorced, struggling to raise a nine-year-old daughter, trying to regain her childhood dream, Alison is restoring a Victorian home at the Jersey shore to operate as a guesthouse. But, you guessed it, the house comes with its own ghosts. Recently demised ghosts whom Alison only wishes would become recently departed from her home.
Due to the peculiar way things work, these two must enlist Alison?s help in discovering how they made the transition to the other side. She’s got to help them along if she wants her guesthouse to have any substantial visitors.
This first in what I certainly hope will be a successful series lays secure framework for its This Old House meets Ghostbusters theme. There is reasonable description and explanation of the restoration work Alison does; and I can vouch for some of her techniques. We learn a little about this rather sudden sensitivity Alison has to spirits, and see the effects it has on her family. The interaction between newly-single mom Alison and mercurial, bright daughter Melissa has some very real moments. (I thought no one did those klunky ‘mom-things’ but me!) And Copperman’s humor and light touch with some genuine deep emotions makes this a pleasurable, one-sit read.