When Nashville cop Skye Mertz and her husband, Jacob, are killed in a wreck, Skye is given the opportunity to come back for twenty years to raise her five-year-old daughter, Kate. With her ghostly mother-in-law’s help, Skye hopes to be there until Kate is old enough to take care of herself.
But three years into her twenty-year service to Abraham Lincoln Jones, the man who gave her the extra time, Skye is beginning to think life might have been easier before she died.
Abe asks her to investigate the murder of his sorcerer, Harold the Great, a man who was a victim of too many snakes. And the Life Extended People (LEPs – a nice term for zombies) who work for Abe have begun turning into ghosts and disappearing. Only Lucas, the possibly evil, amnesiac sorcerer who lives with Skye and her family, can save her from being the next victim of the deadly curse.
To make matters more complicated, Skye has found a lead in solving the riddle of her husband’s death. She has never believed Jacob died as a result of the crash, but hasn’t been able to prove it. Many other people have lost their lives in the same lonely stretch of highway that he did three years before. Skye goes against Abe’s express wishes to discover the truth with a crazy man bent on vengeance.
Kate must be one of the coolest kids on the face of the Earth. Not only is she hip to having a zombie mother, ghostly grandmother and a live-in handy man/amnesiac sorcerer, she is astute enough to keep her mouth shut at school. If she talked about her home life at school, she'd either be sent to a 'special school' for emotionally disturbed children, or the full weight of the public education system would come down on her home. I'd say the paranormal household would have their work cut out for them!
But, like I said, Kate is intelligent and her mother, Skye, the LEP taxi-driver for the dead, has other problems on her hand. You see, Skye's husband, Jacob, wasn't the only death from a 'traffic accident' on that particular stretch of road.
There is growth in several of the main characters. Skye learns the truth about Jacob's death, and she learns about her heritage; let's just say there are certain supernatural things she can accomplish that have nothing to do with being a LEP. Lucas regains some memory and some of his powers (that come in really, REALLY handy for this series). Granny Mertz gets schooled in ghostly endeavors and I think she likes being able to interact in a more concrete way with those around her, especially Kate. And we learn what happens to Abe, the 'zombie ringmaster' (my term, I think) when the magic he gives to the imminently dead does not return to him when their extra time is up.
If you've read Back Porchervations for any length of time, you know that I absolutely adore the books of Joyce and Jim Lavene. I have had the privilege of reading and/or reviewing several of their books (Dae's Christmas Past, Bewitching Boots, Lethal Lily (my intro to the Lavenes) and the first book in the Taxi for the Dead Series, Broken-Hearted Ghoul). Every time they publish a new book, my husband 'mysteriously' gets an emailed update to my 'wish list' for my birthday, our anniversary, whatever the next gift-giving occasion is.
I like books. I like reading books. I like talking (or writing) about books. You simply canNOT go wrong with anything written by Joyce and Jim Lavene.
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.
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(Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the authors and publishers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)