Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Ghost of a Gamble by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Ghost of Granny Apples #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and wonderful characters, living and dead
Cons: I sure can't find a ghost of a con
The Bottom Line:
Ghosts in Las Vegas
Danger, murder, kidnapping
Enjoyable time

The Ghost of Lenny the Lightbulb

Lenny the Lightbulb.  It sounds like a character from a children's show, doesn't it?  Yet a lightbulb is what starts Emma and Granny on another wild mystery, this time set in Las Vegas in Ghost of a Gamble.

If you are new to this series, Emma Whitecastle is a 40-something divorcee who recently found she can communicate with ghosts.  It started when her great-great-great grandmother appeared to her demanding the Emma clear her name of a murder.  Since then, Granny has become a fixture in Emma's life, providing laughs as well as help when Emma finds another ghost she must help deal with unresolved issues in their lives.

While this is the fourth in the series (and the first with a new publisher), enough background is given that you can jump in here and follow what is happening.  The mystery itself stands on its own.

Emma is surprised when her friend and mentor Milo asks for her help with a ghost in his mother Dolly's townhome.  After all, he is a talented medium in his own right.  But she would do anything for her friend, so she heads to Vegas.

When she arrives, she learns that ghost seems to be staying near a light bulb in Dolly's kitchen.  What's even more surprising is that Emma is the first one to make contact with the spirit that Dolly has nicknamed Lenny the Lightbulb.  But all Emma is able to get out of the spirit is that "Nemo's boys are coming for you" before there is a suspicious death and a kidnapping.  Just what has Emma gotten herself into this time?

One thing I appreciate about this series is that the mysteries are different from the cozies I normally read.  Don't get me wrong, I love them, too, but it is nice to get away from a body and five suspects.  Plus the ghosts introduce an element of history to the stories I enjoy as well.

Now that isn't to say this isn't a strong mystery.  It is obvious there is something going on early, and Emma and Granny have to piece together clues and bits of evidence until they do know what is happening.  Even then, the story is far from over, and I found the climax kept me turning pages quickly to find out what would happen next.

Plus the book is filled with great characters.  Emma is a resourceful and self-assured heroine who has accepted the changes in her life.  She is a kind and compassionate woman, but watch out when someone she loves is in danger.  Granny is sarcastic and funny, and her love of modern things like crime dramas and football is hilarious and endearing.  The rest of the cast is equally strong, and I enjoyed seeing old friends again and making new ones, both the living and dead variety.

The third book introduced a wrinkle to Emma's love life.  All I'm going to say is that it is resolved here, so this isn't something that will be dragged on for books and books.  I'll leave it to you to read and see how.

While paranormal mysteries aren't normally my thing, I gladly make an exception for Emma and Granny.  The plots are strong and the characters are fun.  Ghost of a Gamble ended way too quickly.

If you would like to read more about Emma and Granny, check out the Ghost of Granny Apples Mysteries in order.


  1. This sounds like a really fun read! I like the idea of the lightbulb, but the mention of Nemo immediately reminded me of Verne's 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea'. Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a good weekend!
    My Friday Post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    1. It's funny because they mentioned Finding Nemo several times in the book, but never the connection you made.

  2. I like the fact that Emma's love life is resolved. I get so tired of some of the cozy mysteries when they drag the issues of romance on and on and on...My sister and I have both quit reading one series in particular because the main character can't make up her mind.

    1. Sue Ann said all along she didn't intend to drag that out forever. But I'm wondering which of the two series I'm thinking of with the long drawn out love triangle you and your sister stopped reading.

    2. Me too -- and whether you're thinking of the same series I'm thinking of, Mark!

  3. I really like the sound of this series! I enjoy light or relatively light paranormal mysteries, like those of Madelyn Alt (so sad she seems to have stopped writing!) and Victoria Laurie. I will be adding the Ghost of Granny Apples series to my TBR list.

    1. I tend to avoid the paranormal mysteries, but I have gotten so hooked on this one. If you like light paranormal, this should fit the bill.