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I bit my tongue. It was better to keep my mouth shut then to tell a guy who'd been dead since before I was born that I was going to miss him.
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Straight to the point
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Damon Curtis, the lead singer of 60s psychedelic pop group Mind At Large, may have died from a drug overdose in 1971, but he's still hanging around. He is hanging around Cleveland's Rock Museum to be specific, so for the past few months our favourite - um - ghost whisperer (?) Pepper Martin has been avoiding said museum as helping ghosts always leads to people trying to kill her.
But as Halloween approaches and ghost hunters start frequenting her workplace at Garden View Cemetery, Pepper becomes worn down by Damon's attempts to grab her attention, so she goes to the Rock Museum to confront him and tell him that no, she doesn't want to get involved with whatever it is that he wants her to do. However he insists that all he wants her to do is talk to his old band-mate Vinnie for him and wouldn't luck have it? Mind At Large will be playing an outdoor concert at the Rock Museum on Halloween, so Vinnie is already in town.
You see, Vinnie keeps channelling Damon's ghost and making him write songs for the reformed band. It's not the channelling itself which irritates Damon; it's the fact that his songs come out all wrong when they are channelled through Vinnie and Damon can't stand hearing his work be shredded... Oh yeah, there's also the small matter that this weird hold Vinnie has over him is keeping Damon trapped on earth and he is - slowly but surely - fading away.
So a desperate Damon is asking for one thing and one thing only; he just wants Pepper to ask Vinnie to stop channelling him, so he can go wherever it is that ghosts go when they go into the light. It sounds so simple, so Pepper agrees to help him, so she can finally get some peace.
But we are talking about Pepper here, so naturally just talking to someone to aid a fading ghost leads to her stumbling across a murder. But she doesn't feel as though she can back away from the case now, as she is falling For the handsome Damon - fading ghost or not. So even if she can help him with his unfinished business before he fades away entirely, will Pepper be prepared to let him go?
Yeah, this has happily ever after written all over it...
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Is it worth a read?
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Pepper first notices Damon at the end of The Chick And The Dead, which took place in early summer. It's now just before Halloween and she has been attempting to ignore him for all that time, despite him managing to pull a few tricks that neither of the previous ghosts she has reluctantly helped has been able to do. When she finally does speak to him, it's to tell him to leave her alone. If she'd just run from one case straight into the next one I'd probably get frustrated with her, and [although reality is stretched already] it just wouldn't be at all realistic how she innocently stumbles into her various adventures.
She also opens up about her old life and Joel - her ex fiance, and how she was left broken hearted by him and was abandoned by her old friends, so now she is gun shy with everyone. It's not a huge storyline and there aren't any shocking revelations, but it helped me to understand where she's coming from and why she is unwittingly creating a messy triangle between her, Dan and Quinn.
Now for the good stuff, mainly that the main plot-line introduces black magic into the mix - in this instance it takes the form of channelling. I'll let Damon explain channeling; "As far as I can see, this is how it works. The body is sort of like a car, and a car needs a battery to run, right? But a car doesn't care where that energy comes from. You could buy a battery anywhere, from any manufacturer, and your car would still work... it's the same thing that happens when Vinnie channels my spirit. His body still works, but the energy comes from me. Vinnie's been doing it for years, he's got it down pat .He calls on my spirit, and like it or not, when he calls, I have to go. I get drawn into his body, and I become the energy that runs it. When I do, he makes me write the songs for him."
So we know that Pepper's 'gift' isn't the sole source of paranormal elements in her world, so the possibilities for future books has just become pretty much limitless: other people may have any number of paranormal abilities and if ghosts and witches exist, what other supernatural beings do as well?
I was pleased that Dan was involved in this book much more than the previous ones. There's still big question marks around him and his real work, but we [and Pepper] all know that he is knowledgeable about the supernatural, so Pepper can be open and honest around him. Plus the readers haven't yet learnt anything new about Pepper's 'gift' and any answers are likely to come from him, so I'm very interested in Dan's Character.
I'm still not a fan of Quinn, but this time I can see why he's short with Pepper; this is the third homicide investigation he's been working on where she has popped up, so it's natural that he is suspicious. And - whilst Pepper has reasons for doing so - I do feel sorry for him, as they are attracted to each other, but she keeps pushing him away, so he is hurt and his pride has been taking a bruising. I'm more convinced then ever that they are wrong for other, as all they seem to do is hurt each other and Pepper can't be honest or share any real concerns with him.
But both guys lose to Damon; I mean sure, he did spend months harassing Pepper [or did he? It could have easily been her own conscience], but once he gets to know her he is more concerned about her well being then his own. He gets her to open up and talk about her past and fears for the future, as well as telling her that her 'gift' is now part of her and makes her unique, so shut up and put up [he does word it nicer]. At first the whole love angle made me roll my eyes, but I did get suckered in. In one book her connects with Pepper - and the reader - much more then either Dan or Quinn.
TOMBS OF ENDEARMENT does contain a few light references to characters from the first two books, but it is able to be read as a stand alone book as the mystery element of each different case are all contained in each single book.
** The first book in the Pepper Martin mysteries series is Don Of The Dead. Book two is The Chick And The Dead **