Review: Ghostly Undertaking – Tonya Kappes

Review: Ghostly Undertaking – Tonya KappesAuthor: Tonya Kappes
Title: A Ghostly Undertaking
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 304
Release Date: 2015-02-24
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
Format: eARC
Also by this author: A Ghostly Grave
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*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

From former self-published superstar and USA Today bestseller Tonya Kappes comes a brand new, hilarious paranormal series featuring Emma Lee Raines, a funeral home director who can suddenly see dead people.


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For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. HarperCollins and Witness Impulse is thrilled to be publishing this insanely talented and wildly successful author for the first time with A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING (Witness Impulse; February 24, 2015; $7.99 mass market), the first in her hilarious and spooky Ghostly Southern series.

A funeral, a ghost, a murder…it’s all in a day’s work for Emma Lee Raines.

Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she’s suffering from “funeral trauma.” It’s trauma all right, because the not so dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne–innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee’s granny-she’s adamant that she didn’t just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.

Ruthie has no idea who wanted her pushing up daisies. All she knows is that she can’t cross over until the matter is laid to eternal rest. In the land of the living, Emma Lee’s high-school crush, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, isn’t ready to rule out foul play. Granny Raines, the widow of Ruthie’s ex-husband and co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, is the prime suspect. Now Emma Lee is stuck playing detective or risk being haunted forever.

About the author

Tonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand. More than anything, Tonya loves to connect with readers, with a loyal ‘street team’ of fans and followers on social media. Be sure to check out her Facebook, Twitter, blog and newsletter!



Jennifer’s Review

A Ghostly Undertaking is a quick, entertaining read. It’s fast paced and humorous at times. I thought the mystery was thought out, with sufficient clues and red herrings. The characters are well developed, and the main character Emma Lee is likable.

The book is well-written for the most part. There were some places where I felt it needed improvement. For example, in one place a sentence contradicted the sentence right before it. In another place, the word “aren’t” changed the meaning of a sentence to where the sentence wasn’t accurate. Also, there was a clue for which Emma Lee already had the information and later acted surprised to learn it.

Another issue I had with the story was that every character had two names: Emma Lee, Charlotte Rae, Jack Henry, etc. I felt this was an unnecessary stereotype of Southerners. I live in Tennessee. I’ve been to Kentucky. I’ve been in lots of Southern small towns. Yes, a few people go by two names, but certainly not every single person in the town.

Despite those few complications, I enjoyed reading A Ghostly Undertaking. I would definitely recommend it to readers of paranormal cozy mysteries, especially if they like small town dynamics with old Southern culture.

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