Don of the Dead: Fun, fluffy, forgettable

Readers’ average rating:

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban paranormal fantasy book reviews Casey Daniels Pepper Martin 1. Don of the DeadDon of the Dead by Casey Daniels

Former rich girl Pepper Martin, reduced to dire financial straits, takes a job as a cemetery tour guide. When she falls and hits her head on late mobster Gus Scarpetti’s mausoleum, she gains the (rather inconvenient) ability to see Gus’s ghost. Gus enlists Pepper to solve the decades-old mystery of his murder. While trying to get to the bottom of the case, Pepper learns that a ghostly “boss” can be hazardous to a girl’s love life and job prospects, and maybe even her life itself.

Book 2

I was often annoyed by Pepper. She’s ditzy, she’s obsessed with her own bust size, and she needs a lot of rescuing. However, Gus is more obnoxious still. Their bickering is sometimes funny and sometimes irritating. Some of my favorite moments were when Pepper read Gus the riot act.

It’s not hard to solve the crime a few steps ahead of Pepper, but I had fun unraveling the tangle, and the eventual revelation is a surprisingly touching one. The plot does, however, rely a bit too much on Pepper getting in over her head and being saved by deus ex machina.

One thing that’s original and refreshing in the current urban fantasy climate: Casey Daniels hasn’t thrown the entire paranormal kitchen sink into Don of the Dead. There are ghosts, but there aren’t vampires and faeries and demons and incubi and succubi and werewolves and werehyenas and werepigeons and so on, all stuffed into the same story. Pepper has two love interests, and while I’m pretty sure at least one of them is a jerk, neither is a vampire or a were! They’re just normal guys.

Don of the Dead (2006) was a fun, light read, and I’ll probably read more in the PEPPER MARTIN series in the future.

Published in 2006. She sees dead people. Beautiful, smart, and chic, Pepper Martin never had to work a day in her life — until her surgeon daddy was convicted of fraud, her wealthy fiancé took a powder, and the family fortune ran bone dry. Suddenly desperate, the inexperienced ex-rich girl was forced to take the only job she could get: as a tour guide in a cemetery. But a grave situation took a turn for the worse when a head-on collision with a headstone left her with an unwanted ability to communicate with the disgruntled deceased . . . and now Pepper has a whacked Mafia don demanding that she hunt down his killers — and threatening to haunt her until she does.

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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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One comment

  1. LOL – I actually have read 3 of these. They’re all about the same. Good enough to hold my attention and make me enjoy them, but afterwards, there’s nothing about them that I can think of as really having made me think or anything. Not sure why I keep reading them and yet I find myself doing it.


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