Thursday, August 05, 2010

Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels

Title: Don of the Dead
Author: Casey Daniels
ISBN: 9780060821463
Publisher: Avon, 2006
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, #1 Pepper Martin mystery
Rating: C+
Source: Paperback Swap

First Line: I have to admit, the first time Gus Scarpetti spoke to me, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention.

Pepper Martin is a spoiled little rich girl. Growing up with wealthy Doctor Daddy, she's coasted along on her looks and her money; not applying herself in school because she knew an advantageous marriage awaited her. Well, it did until Doctor Daddy was convicted of Medicare fraud. Abandoned by her snooty fiance and stripped of every luxury she was accustomed to, Pepper is skating atop the thin ice of life as a tour guide in a Cleveland, Ohio cemetery and dreaming of working in the shoe department of Saks Fifth Avenue (at least until the real Mr. Right comes along).

While she's guiding some old folks around the cemetery, she falls and cracks her head on the steps of the mausoleum of gangster Gus Scarpetti. Now all of a sudden, she's being harassed by a ghost who insists that she finds out who really killed him outside his favorite restaurant. Pepper would rather ace her Saks job interview and concentrate on Mr. Handsome Cop and Mr. Handsome Brainy Geek, but Gus just won't take no for an answer.

As a first book and the first book in a series, Don of the Dead was uneven. The two new men in her life seemed to fade in and out, only showing up when required by the plot, which also had some gaps.

Unfortunately Pepper is one of the most annoying types of characters I can encounter in any type of book: the whiny little rich girl who thinks her best feature is her boobs. I originally started counting the number of times Pepper thrust her assets in some poor hapless male's face, but I had to stop because it was merely annoying me. And before anyone reading this review thinks I'm jealous... well, I laugh in your general direction. Compared to me, Pepper is flat-chested.

By book's end the plot, pacing and characterization had come together, and I can see where this first book holds real promise for the continuation of the series. I am curious about these future books, but I may have to pass on them unless someone in the know can tell me that Pepper starts believing that her true assets rely on IQ, not cup size.


  1. Cathy - Thanks for this review. I'd heard of this series, but I hadn't read it yet. Now, I think maybe I'll give it a miss...

  2. Very funny review. You saved me some wasted time.

  3. Pepper sounds completely annoying! I doubt this book is for me.

  4. Margot-- Pepper is somewhat of an acquired taste. ;)

    Barbara-- This series does show promise. I suppose I could get the second and the first time Pepper shoved her chest at someone, I could throw the book against the wall?

    Kathy-- The premise is interesting, but Pepper isn't. I wanted to slap her whenever she pouted that she wasn't being taken seriously. Women who thrust their boobs in people's faces generally aren't taken seriously.

  5. Thanks for the laugh today! I seem to think I've heard good things about this series, but maybe not. Pepper does seem rather annoying, I hope somebody comments to let you know if it's worth continuing with the series or not because I would like to know.

  6. Kris-- I've heard good things about it, too, and I do wish someone would pony up with some info about the others!


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