Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels

Don of the Dead (Pepper Martin Series #1)Don of the Dead, Finished 6-2-12, rating 3.25/5, 325 pages, pub. 2006

Book 1 of the Pepper Martin series.

Casey Daniels was one of the authors who spoke at the Ohioana Book Festival last month and I was surprised that I didn’t know about her series set in Lake View Cemetery here in Cleveland.  If you remember my post from last week, I think this cemetery is so beautiful and for all of its history it is a tourist attraction (and yes I know that seems weird).  Here’s another picture of the cemetery I took last weekend…

Idyllic, right?  Anyway, Daniels talked about her Pepper Martin series that spends most of its time in Lake View Cemetery.  I bought the book and this will be the third stop on my Ohio tour.

Pepper Martin is an ex-rich girl who now has to fend for herself and find a job.  Doctor Daddy is in federal prison for fraud and her prince charming dumped her.  Pepper finds a job as a tour guide for Lake View Cemetery and one night after she hits her head she finds that not all souls are resting in peace.  Gus Scarpetti, head of the mob, has been dead 30 years and he thinks it’s high time that someone finds out who offed him.  That someone is Pepper.  Pepper sees dead people.

Okay, I hate to start with what I didn’t like first, but since it was a problem for the first half of the book I must start here.  Pepper is not only beautiful, but she can make men do what she wants just by flashing her awesome boobs at them.  Seriously, everyone that Pepper came in contact with admired her perfect 36C breasts and she used it to her advantage in every situation possible.  It was her only way of obtaining information.  She didn’t seem to have much else going for her and it’s hard to like someone like that, especially when she’s 30 and should have developed some personality over the years.

Here’s what I did like.  I thought the mystery, when it finally became the focus of the book, was good.  After the so-so first half I was prepared to do some skimming in the second, but I became engrossed in the mystery of who killed Gus, probably because Gus is the best character/ghost in the story.  A mob boss has many enemies and surprisingly, after 30 years many of them are still around.  When I found out who did the deed I was surprised and satisfied.

Since we all know Pepper is beautiful she does meet two hot men and tries to keep them both interested.  There was a tease near the end about one of them that almost has me wanting to read the next book to find out more.  But ultimately, although Pepper ceased to annoy me by the end I’m not in any rush to spend more time with her.  Casey Daniels said in her talk that Pepper matures as the series progresses, so I won’t write her off just yet.  I’m just not in a hurry to read the next one.