Chasing Shadows by Lila Bruce

Smart-mouthed old ladies, peach cobblers and ghosts. What could possibly go wrong?

What was the book about?
After her parents died, Avery Smith came back to Bethel Springs, Alabama, to live with her grandma Mildred and Jane, her grandma’s best friend, or, rather, her sidekick, since Mildred is always up to some mischief. At the start of the book, Mildred and Jane are set on getting their hands on Laralyn Baker’s peach cobbler recipe. They’ll stop at nothing, not even searching the dead woman’s body on the eve of the funeral service. As a police detective, all their shenanigans often put Avery in difficult positions.

Cameron – Cam – Reinhart was Loralyn’s great-niece and she’s in town to settle her aunt’s affairs. Avery may not have noticed her as a high school student with a crush on the older girl but she definitely notices her now. Despite their meeting in less than favourable circumstances, they end up getting along quite well. Cam is now some sort of TV celebrity, with her own show and fans. Years ago, she became a ghost hunter by accident and jumped on the occasion to leave a dead-end job. Ghosts don’t exist but who cares?

Until they start talking to her…

Featured Tropes
Paranormal (ghosts) ; Small town ; Snarky grandma ; Mystery

Book Strengths
Lila Bruce is the queen of opening paragraphs. “For a dead woman, Loralyn Baker looked pretty damned good”. If that first sentence doesn’t make you want to keep reading, I don’t know what will. 

Also, I didn’t expect to laugh so much. Blame it on the old ladies… I always thought Robin Alexander wrote the best snarky old ladies but Mildred can definitely hold her own.

Book Weaknesses
The mystery part is rather good, with just enough suspense and scary moments (not only because, you know, ghosts), but I guess if I really wanted to find some weaknesses, it might have been tighter. Oh, and there are a couple of flashbacks, which are okay, but the presentation could have been clearer.

Character Chemistry:
While Cam never forgot her crush from high school, Avery feels the attraction for the first time when they meet. It grows steadily all along the story.

Heat Rating: 4

Wrap up
I read this book for the paranormal mystery but what I liked best, however, is the humour, the banter between Avery and Cam, the eccentric Mildred and the not-so-innocent Jane.

Star Rating: 4.5

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