Dead Girls are Easy: And pretty stupid, too

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Terri Garey Nicki Styx 1. Dead Girls are EasyDead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey

When vintage-boutique owner Nicki Styx suffers a near-death experience, she comes back from the Light with the ability to see and hear ghosts. Before she knows it, the dead are hounding her day and night, in the hopes that she’ll help tie up their loose ends. Sometimes this just means passing on a last message of love. But when Nicki’s friend Caprice is killed, Nicki’s life really gets messy.

Caprice’s boyfriend Mojo has been thrown in jail, accused of Caprice’s murder. Caprice wants him freed. She claims he’s innocent, that the crime was committed by the woman Mojo was seeing on the side. Mojo has yet another version of events. Nicki has no idea how to untangle the mystery, but she’d better do it fast, because Caprice’s spirit is turning into something nasty. Something demonic. Meanwhile, Nicki is falling in love with her doctor, Joe Bascombe, whose estranged wife just might be Nicki’s long-lost twin sister.

Nicki is a character with lots of potential — snarky and tough on the outside but secretly vulnerable. Unfortunately, she becomes less dynamic as the plot unfolds, letting herself get pushed around by Joe and by Caprice’s grandmother, Granny Julep. And the supporting cast is straight from the shelves of Cliché-Mart. The sexy doctor. The wise black matriarch who knows voodoo. The flaming gay best friend. The voodoo is stereotypical as well; Terri Garey presents most of the loa as “evil” even though that’s not the way they’re seen within the religion.

Still, I might have found this a fun (if fluffy) read if it weren’t for an astounding blunder Nicki makes toward the end. I complain sometimes about heroines who are handed the solution to the mystery rather than figuring it out. This is worse — Nicki is handed the solution, and it goes right over her head. Granny Julep tells her, by name, who is controlling Caprice’s spirit. Umm, Nicki, haven’t you heard that name somewhere before? Nicki doesn’t recognize it, or even seem to realize that the danger is still out there. She just goes on her merry way, thinking she’s free of the whole voodoo thing, until the villain attacks her again. I’m all for flawed characters who make mistakes, but this one was just moronic.

Oh, and the whole “he might be married to my sister” thing is just kind of icky, especially in a light, humorous novel like Dead Girls Are Easy.


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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