I'd previously read A Hard Day's Fright by Ms Daniels and wasn't sure how I was going to feel about going back and reading her 1st book of the Pepper Martin series. I was so glad I did! I loved it.
Meeting her first ghost, Gus the Mafia don, after hitting her head on his mausoleum has this sexy, smart, cemetary tour guide hunting down his killers and in the process running into trouble for herself in the way of mafia hit men and sexy cops and doctors.
Imaginative, funny..a delightful read!
First Line: I have to admit, the first time Gus Scarpetti spoke to me, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention.
Pepper Martin is a spoiled little rich girl. Growing up with wealthy Doctor Daddy, she's coasted along on her looks and her money; not applying herself in school because she knew an advantageous marriage awaited her. Well, it did until Doctor Daddy was convicted of Medicare fraud. Abandoned by her snooty fiance and stripped of every luxury she was accustomed to, Pepper is skating atop the thin ice of life as a tour guide in a Cleveland, Ohio cemetery and dreaming of working in the shoe department of Saks Fifth Avenue (at least until the real Mr. Right comes along).
While she's guiding some old folks around the cemetery, she falls and cracks her head on the steps of the mausoleum of gangster Gus Scarpetti. Now all of a sudden, she's being harassed by a ghost who insists that she finds out who really killed him outside his favorite restaurant. Pepper would rather ace her Saks job interview and concentrate on Mr. Handsome Cop and Mr. Handsome Brainy Geek, but Gus just won't take no for an answer.
As a first book and the first book in a series, Don of the Dead was uneven. The two new men in her life seemed to fade in and out, only showing up when required by the plot, which also had some gaps.
Unfortunately Pepper is one of the most annoying types of characters I can encounter in any type of book: the whiny little rich girl who thinks her best feature is her boobs. I originally started counting the number of times Pepper thrust her assets in some poor hapless male's face, but I had to stop because it was merely annoying me. And before anyone reading this review thinks I'm jealous... well, I laugh in your general direction. Compared to me, Pepper is flat-chested.
By book's end the plot, pacing and characterization had come together, and I can see where this first book holds real promise for the continuation of the series. I am curious about these future books, but I may have to pass on them unless someone in the know can tell me that Pepper starts believing that her true assets rely on IQ, not cup size.
I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading the next one in the series. It kind of reminded my of the Sookie Stackhouse series. Pepper is really a funny character.