A Ghostly Mortality
by Tonya Kappes
on Tour February 28 – March 30, 2017
That ghost sure looks . . . familiar
Only a handful of people know that Emma Lee Raines, proprietor of a small-town Kentucky funeral home, is a “Betweener.” She helps ghosts stuck between here and the ever-after—murdered ghosts. Once Emma Lee gets them justice they can cross over to the great beyond.
But Emma Lee’s own sister refuses to believe in her special ability. In fact, the Raines sisters have barely gotten along since Charlotte Rae left the family business for the competition. After a doozy of an argument, Emma Lee is relieved to see Charlotte Rae back home to make nice. Until she realizes her usually snorting, sarcastic, family-ditching sister is a… ghost.
Charlotte Rae has no earthly idea who murdered her or why. With her heart in tatters, Emma Lee relies more than ever on her sexy beau, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross…because this time, catching a killer means the Raines sisters will have to make peace with each other first.
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: Witness
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0062466976 (ISBN13: 9780062466976)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #6
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗
Read an excerpt:
Lawdy bee.” Granny scooted to the edge of the chair and lifted her arms in the air like she was worshiping in the Sunday morning service at Sleepy Hollow Baptist and the spirit just got put in her.
I sucked in a deep breath, preparing myself for whatever was going to come out of Zula Fae Raines Payne’s mouth, my granny. She was a ball of southern spitfire in her five-foot-four-inch frame topped off with bright red hair that I wasn’t sure was real or out of a L’Oréal bottle she’d gotten down at the Buy-N-Fly.
“Please, please, please,” she begged. “Let me die before anything happens to Emma Lee.” Her body slid down the fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair as she fell to her knees with her hands clasped together, bringing them back up in the air as she pleaded to the Big Guy in the sky. “I’m begging you.”
“Are you nuts?” My voice faded to a hushed stillness. I glanced back at the closed door of my sister’s new office, in fear she was going to walk in and see Granny acting up. I sat in the other fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair next to Granny’s and grabbed her by the loose skin of her underarm. “Get back up on this chair before Charlotte Rae gets back in here and sees you acting like a fool.”
“What?” Granny quirked her eyebrows questioningly as if her behavior was normal. My head dropped along with my jaw in the “are you kidding me” look.
“Well, I ain’t lying!” She spat, “I do hope and pray you are the granddaughter that will be doing my funeral, unless you get a flare up of the ‘Funeral Trauma.’ ” She sucked in a deep breath and got up off her knees. She ran her bony fingers down the front of her cream sweater to smooth out any wrinkles so she’d be presentable like a good southern woman, forgetting she was just on her knees begging for mercy.
“Flare up?” I sighed with exasperation. “It’s not like arthritis.”
The “Funeral Trauma.” It was true. I was diagnosed with the “Funeral Trauma” after a decorative plastic Santa fell off the roof of Artie’s Meat and Deli, knocking me flat out cold and now I could see dead people. I had told Doc Clyde I was having some sort of hallucinations and seeing dead people, but he insisted I had been in the funeral business a little too long and seeing corpses all of my life had brought on the trauma. Truthfully, the Santa had given me a gift. Not a gift you’d expect Santa to give you, but it was the gift of seeing clients of Eternal Slumber, my family’s funeral home business where I was the undertaker. Some family business. Anyway, a psychic told me I was now a Betweener. I helped people who were stuck between here and the ever after. The Great Beyond. The Big Guy in the sky. One catch . . . the dead people I saw were murdered and they needed me to help them solve their murder before they could cross over.
“I’m fine,” I huffed and took the pamphlet off of Charlotte Rae’s desk, keeping my gift to myself. The only people who knew were me, the psychic and Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, my hot, hunky and sexy boyfriend. He was as handy as a pocket on a shirt when it came time for me to find a killer when a ghost was following me around. “We are here to get her to sign my papers and talk about this sideboard issue once and for all.” Granny stared at me.
My head slid forward like a turtle and I popped my eyes open.
“I’m fine,” I said through closed teeth.
“You are not fine.” Granny rolled her eyes so big, I swear she probably hurt herself. “People are still going around talking about how you talk to yourself.” She shook her finger at me. “If you don’t watch it, you are going to be committed. Surrounded by padded walls. Then—She jabbed her finger on my arm. I swatted her away with the pamphlet.
“Charlotte Rae will have full control over my dead body and I don’t want someone celebrating a wedding while I lay corpse in the next room. Lawdy bee,” Granny griped. I opened the pamphlet and tried to ignore Granny as best I could.
“Do you hear me, Emma Lee?” Granny asked. I could feel her beady eyes boring into me.
“Don’t you be disrespecting your elders. I asked you a question,” she warned when I didn’t immediately answer her question.
“Granny.” I placed the brochure in my lap and reminded myself to remain calm. Something I did often when it came to my granny. “I hear you. Don’t you worry about a thing. By the time you get ready to die, they will have you in the nut-house alongside me,” I joked, knowing it would get her goat. The door flung open and the click of Charlotte Rae’s high-dollar heels tapped the hardwood floor as she sashayed her way back into her office. The soft linen green suit complemented Charlotte’s sparkly green eyes and the chocolate scarf that was neatly tied around her neck. It was the perfect shade of brown to go with her long red hair and pale skin.
“I’m so sorry about that.” She stopped next to our chairs and looked between me and Granny. She shook the long, loose curls over her shoulders. “What? What is wrong, now?”
“Granny is all worried I’m going to get sent away to the nuthouse and you are going to lay her out here.” The words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. Or did my subconscious take over my mouth? It was always a competition between me and Charlotte, only it was one-sided. Mine. Charlotte never viewed me as competition because she railroaded me all my life. Like now. She’d left Eternal Slumber with zero guilt, leaving me in charge so she could make more money at Hardgrove’s Legacy Center, formerly known as Hardgrove’s Funeral Homes until they got too big for their britches and decided to host every life event possible just to make more money.
Excerpt from A Ghostly Mortality by Tonya Kappes. Copyright © 2017 by Tonya Kappes. Reproduced with permission from Witness. All rights reserved.
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.
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tonya Kappes and Witness Impulse. There will be 1 US winner of one PRINTED set of The Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1-6 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on February 27th and runs through April 2nd, 2017.
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Quick Reasons: I was a tiny bit confused about some plot things; entertaining, snarky, head-strong character; love the setting and dialect; love that a loose end played on throughout is used as a mini introduction to the next book; I might just have to pick up the rest of this series!
fishing for more
Huge thanks to Tonya Kappes, Witness Publishing, Partners in Crime Tours, and Edelweiss for sending me a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.
First things first: I went into this book KNOWING I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the series. I knew, going in, that this might potentially lead to some confusion about the world and/or characters. I warned myself the confusion might, at times, be more than anticipated. So I wasn’t blind or oblivious to the fact that there might, reading this, be problems waiting for me. This being said… I was pleasantly surprised when I managed to get through most of this read without a hitch! While some past events went unexplained or were left up to me to figure out for myself (the relationship between Emma Lee and Jack Henry, for instance)–I was able to piece them together fairly easily, and remain convinced of the world and characters. Of course, there was still a little bit of confusion about certain things…but in the end, I was able to dive into this story and remain curious and enthralled throughout. This basically boils down to this for potential readers: while I still recommend starting at the beginning (because I’m usually that type of reader) you could pretty easily slip into the story later on if you want or need to.
The characters are realistic and entertaining. Emma Lee was a snarky and head-strong character throughout the read; not once did she allow anyone to talk down to her, or sway her mind once she’d set it, or tell her what to do. I really loved following her on her ventures to find her sister’s killer–while it’s clear from the get-go that she’s not a professional detective or cop, she made the journey quick and fun. The moments with her sister were mixed parts aggravating, endearing, and totally believable; the moments with Granny, who’s a spitfire all her own, were both hilarious and heart-wrenching.
I had such a fun time following the clues in this murder-mystery, I’m considering picking up the rest of the series (and starting from the beginning this time)! This was an entertaining, snarky, believable read with some wild and head-strong characters. I recommend this to lovers of cozy mysteries, sleuthy characters, and small towns with big hearts. Follow the clues, penguins, and see if you can figure out who the killer is before the big reveal! I promise you’ll be just as surprised as I was!