Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Ghost of Granny Apples #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters in a great story
Cons: Nothing worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Granny and Emma
Solve the forty year old death
Of bathing beauty

Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Ghost Bikini

I tend to avoid the paranormal cozies that seem to be extremely popular right now.  I just don't have the time for all the books I want to read, so it's an easy area to ignore.  But when an author I love writes them, I have to at least give them a chance.  That's how I got hooked on Sue Ann Jaffarian's Ghost of Granny Apples series.  The second book in the series, Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini, just came out, and it's as fun as the first one was.

In the first book in the series, Emma Whitecastle discovered that she can communicate with ghosts when her great-great-great grandmother, Ish Reynolds, also known as Granny Apples, appeared and asked Emma to solve her murder.  Naturally, that took up the rest of the first book.  This one picks up later and tells the further adventures of this unlikely duo.

Emma and her boyfriend Phil Bowers are spending a nice romantic Thanksgiving on Catalina Island.  Unfortunately, their weekend is cut short when Emma sees the young, bikini clad ghost of Tessa North playing in the waves.  The young woman seems to be confused about whether she is dead or not, but either way she insists that she can't leave the beach because Curtis is going to come back for her.

Emma feels for Tessa, so she begins to look into the woman's life.  She quickly determines that in life Tessa was a young actress who vanished not too long after bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.  As the investigation begins to hit closer to home, Emma feels compelled to find out exactly what happened to Tessa.  But does she really want to know the truth?

It's been about a year and a half since the first in the series came out, and I must admit I was a little hazy on the characters.  Fortunately, they were reintroduced well, so in no time at all, I felt like I was back among friends.  All the characters, living and ghostly, were well developed.  Granny Apples is easily my favorite character since she is such a wonderful contradiction, living partly in her time period but getting hooked on modern sports teams and shows.  Emma is a nice, level headed main character, and I enjoyed spending time with her again.  And the new characters were just as well developed as the series regulars.

The plot starts out quickly and gives us a rather huge mystery to solve.  That mystery leads to secrets and twists and kept me turning pages.  At one point, things seemed to get a little stuck, but just as I was thinking that, the plot jumped started again in a big way.  The climax was logical and in some ways heart breaking.  But it didn't feel out of place alongside some of the lighter moments earlier in the book.

The writing was great as well, letting me get lost in the story, turning pages as quickly as I could read them.  I was done all too soon and now must wait for the next adventure in this series.

Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini is another fun, ghostly adventure that will please anyone who enjoys paranormal cozy mysteries.  If that's you, you owe it to yourself to give this fun series a chance.

And you'll enjoy it most by reading the Ghost of Granny Apples Mysteries in order.

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