Sadly the book did not deliver on its promise of a “chilling paranormal thriller” filled with family secrets and Southern Gothic mystique. What I got was a slew of cardboard characters, boring dialogue and a watered down ghost story that makes even the lamest episodes of Goosebumps seem scary. I could go on and on about the silly ghostly antics, the convoluted cold case mystery and the many pages of nothingness, but I’ll save you the gory details.
The absolute worst part about the book is the main character, Melanie. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that there is nothing endearing about this woman. Throughout the book, she’s constantly bemoaning the uselessness of old Victorian houses, but yet she’s supposed to be a real estate shark who specializes in stately old Charleston homes? Speaking of her profession, how can a person with so much free time be such a real estate shark? Also she’s constantly trying to re-home a sweet little dog she inherited, along with an old Victorian home that she hates. I was waiting for her to have a bonding moment with the little guy (tragically named Robert E. Lee), but nope. So how did that add anything to the story, much less her likability? You got me!
Then there’s her love-hate relationship with some womanizing dude who’s trying to dig up dirt for a true crime book. I got the impression that the author was trying to build romantic tension with their constant bickering, but really this tired plot device made me hate the two reluctant lovebirds even more. If I took a shot of whiskey every time she admonished him for calling her “Mellie,” I’d be snockered within minutes. Actually, that might have been a good idea. The insufferable woman was constantly mad at someone and walking away in a huff for inexplicable reasons.
And then there’s the questionable comments like, “I know more about stripping paint than any woman in her late 30s have any business knowing.” Why shouldn’t a woman of any age know how to do home improvement stuff? Right from the get-go, her approval ratings dropped when she made a bewildering comment about “porch sitters” and how she doesn’t want to become one because she has so many derogatory terms for “those people.” WTF?
And if that’ not enough to want Smelly Mellie to become the next murder victim, she’s also one of those women who brags incessantly about eating donuts all day and never gaining weight. UGH! Come on, Miss White! Are you going out of your way to make the leading lady the object of hatred and scorn?
Either way, I’m done with this impossible character and will not continue on with the next book in this series, or any other series penned by this author. Judging by the many glowing reviews, Karen White clearly knows how to hit the sweet spot with a select target audience. I’m definitely not in that mix.