Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota. Fearing her daughter might be next, single mom Violet Parker is desperate to find the monster behind the abductions.
With her savings dwindling and just three weeks left to sell her first house or lose her realtor job, Violet is ecstatic when a handsome jeweler hires her to sell his century-old Victorian masterpiece - until she sees the dilapidated dwelling. Now if she could just convince her only buyer to stop rejecting vintage homes as if they're haunted.
Short on time and long on worry, Violet refuses to give up her dream of a fresh start in Deadwood. But with a malicious coworker trying to get her fired, a secret admirer sending her creepy messages, and a sexy stranger hiding skeletons in his closet, will Violet end up as one of Deadwood's dearly departed?
©2011 Ann Charles (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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This is a really interesting book that caught my attention in the beginning and held me until the very end. It wasn't perfect but the flaws were not enough to make me stop reading. I will say upfront this is a touch racier than your typical cozy mystery, more on that later.
I generally liked Violet, she had a snarky wit and can do attitude. She was a bit over run by her kids, they totally ran her life. Her job struggles were relateable and you really felt her frustration. She seemed to be doused in some kind of love potion, for real how many fellas does a gal need? At one point she had no less than 4 men wanting to get with her. I know that was meant to be funny but in my opinion it missed the mark.
There were some really funny moments in the story. Her kids are a hoot, even if you want to shake them at times! Her slightly slutty best friend adds a touch of drama. I would have loved to see more of her hippy Aunt Zoey. Her first client Harvey is a laugh riot!! I hope we see much more of him in future books!
This is a single POV, only getting Violet's side of things. She is very helpful in sharing her insights as they happen. It might be nice to get some of the other character's thoughts. But then some off the twists wold have been revealed too early.
There are a couple romantic prospects and things eventually get steamy. Kind of a surprise for the type of book. While not as detailed as an erotic read, the bedroom door is wide open and things get hot! I am still deciding how I feel about that story wise. It was very abrupt and while the characters were lusting after each other, it felt off.
The mystery is detailed and well developed. I would have liked more of the ghost angle throughout. That seemed like a missed opportunity. While I quickly caught on to the bad guy, I did not see that motive. Almost made me feel bad for the guy, until you recall he was killing little girls.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Caroline Shaffer. She does an excellent job. She had a real feel for the characters and helped the story flow. She has a brisk read, which I enjoy. She had great voices, distinct and consistent. Great comedic timing, especially with old man Harvey. She could have used a touch more energy during the action and smexy scenes. I never felt urgency in her voice. I will definitely boo looking to check out more of her reads.
Ended on a cliffhanger, more like a teaser for the next book. Most of the major plot points of this mystery were wrapped up. But you can see some loose ends, I think I may already know what is going to happen in the next book, but I am still curious.
Overall it is a good read that lacked a wow factor. It was pleasant and entertaining. I would recommend it but I am not screaming it to the rooftops. Grab it on Amazon when it is a freebie, cause then you can get the Audible for 2.99!
I have the next one in this series so I'm just hoping Violet doesn't act so high school-ish in that one and a little less drama.I think the narrator did a great job so I wouldn't mind listening to her again.
Violet is supposed to be a single mother of twins, but yet she acts and thinks like she's still in high school. She lets her co-worker constantly harass her without complaining to the boss. She lets her kids walk all over her. As the book went on her thoughts just became more irritating than funny as they were, I'm sure, meant to be.I did like Doc though and just wish he would have had a better leading lady. Harvey was also a favorite character.
I have such mixed feelings about this book. There were parts I loved and parts that drove me nuts or grated on me. On the one hand, it was well-written and well-narrated. Some parts were hilarious and had me laughing out loud. Other parts made me so frustrated with the main character that I just wanted to strangle her. For example, the fact that she puts up with the blatant, extreme sexual harassment from her co-worker without ever complaining to her employer really frustrated me. It was funny at first but then it just became annoying. Also, I felt like she let her kids walk all over her. Do the good parts outshine the not-so-good parts? I'm not sure. Am I sorry I read/listened to it? No. Would I recommend it? Only with reservations.
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Read/Listened for Fun (Kindle/Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.50
Story Rating: 4.75
Character Rating: 4.25
Audio Rating: 4.50 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: Nearly Departed in Deadwood is a seriously fun cozy mystery that had me giggling, gasping, and growling (in a good way)!
Story Thoughts: They mystery is strong in Nearly Departed in Deadwood, grasshoppers! Ann Charles knows how to write a twisty mystery that will keep you guessing. In true Jessica Fletcher style (which is the bar I hold all cozy mysteries too) knocks out suspects as she goes. I love when an author lines up your suspects and then slowly knocks them down! I laughed at poor Violet as she juggled her job, trying to protect her daughter, the crazies she met (even the adorable fun ones --->Sylvester Schwarzenegger), and dating. I could buy her getting involved in the case because like any mom, the desire to protect the offspring (no matter how annoying they get) is strong. Overall the story was very strong and had some great moments!
Character Thoughts: I really liked Violet till the end of Nearly Departed in Deadwood and she broke the code. I truly thought that could have been handled better but other than that, Violet was a delightful leading lady. Depending on how the situation is handled in the next book, I might even forgive her breaking the code(her friend is a tad bit of a "I claim every guy" kind of gal). Violet's kids though were awesome. I love how Ann Charles didn't push them to the background. It made Violet more real and easier to relate too. I know lots of single moms who get those "emergency" calls at work, have a hard time dating, and seem to always be frazzled/rushed. The fact that it was all part of Violet's personality too just made her more likable. All the rest of the characters are great (even the sleazy annoying ones) and I can't wait to get back to Deadwood.
Narrated By Caroline Shaffer / Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
I don't think I have listened to a book narrated by Caroline Shaffer before but I certainly will in the future. She was fantastic and well suited to a cozy mystery. She had great comedic timing, good voices, and just enough "lightness" to make it fun.
Final Thoughts: Totally loved Nearly Departed in Deadwood! Can't wait to continue the series!
Love to read and I am really enjoying audible. Fantasy and sci fi are my faves but I also enjoy period novels and historical fiction.
The narrator had a pleasant voice but her cadence was so slow and halting. Was difficult to listen to I ended up speeding up the audio rate.
The storyline was ok. The mystery person was less a mystery than the why of the mystery. The struggles of a single woman were realistic and kept my interest.
I don't really enjoy love triangles and that aspect of the story was annoying.
It wasn't worth a credit but on sale or kindle unlimited it was fine
I live to ride my bike.
This cozy mystery was a bore. I tried reading this a few times but it did not catch my attention. Fortunately I did try Jackrabbit Junction series by Ann Charles and that appeals to me.
Ann Charles has written a nice first book in this new series. Her characters are well crafted and believable. Her stories are original and not your typical "ghost story". Caroline Shaffer does a beautiful job of bringing the characters to life.
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