Friday, April 28, 2017

Southern Spirits by Angie Fox - Series Debut

Frankie scooted to the edge of the counter. "Now listen up. 'Cause here's what we do," he said, clasping his hands in front of him, his elbows resting on his knees.
"What we do?" I asked. I didn't recall teaming up with a dead gangster. 
"Oh?" He opened his hands. "So you have ideas?" 
"No," I said grudgingly. He scratched at his long, thin nose. "Okay, here's the deal. Old lady Hatcher's not-so-dearly departed husband came across some cash in 1965." He gave me a long look. "It's more than you need." 
My spine stiffened. He was talking about saving my house. Whatever he was about to suggest couldn't be good. Did I dare? 
"How did the money come about?" I absolutely refused to get involved in anything illegal. 
Frankie shrugged. "He bet his entire mortgage payment on a long-shot horse. The damn thing won. He hid the money on his property. Only he was an idiot and died right after he stashed it." 
I'd heard that last part of the story. Maisie Hatcher had dug up every tree, shrub, and flower patch in her backyard, looking for the fortune her husband hid. "She swore there was money under one of the trees on her property. We always thought she was crazy." 
The corner of his mouth turned up. "It's not under a tree. It's hidden in a box with a tree carved on the top." 
Well, didn't that beat all? I strolled toward the ghost, feeling brave. Or maybe I needed to show him that I wasn't as scared anymore. "You'd think her husband could have left better directions." 
He shrugged. "Oskar Hatcher was an asshole. Still is." 
I cocked my head. "How do you know?" 
"He's behind you." The air left my body. I screeched and spun around fast, my heart jackhammering against my chest. I couldn't see anything in the dark. 
"Where is he?" Frankie's chuckle behind me sounded like gravel over rocks. 
"Your friend's right. You really are gullible." "You're such a jerk." A chill washed over me as the sweat on my body cooled. I turned back to him. 
"How long were you watching me?" 
He didn't buckle under my stare. "Don't flatter yourself. I spend most of my time picking up dames at the cemetery. Or I tool around, see who's manifesting." He grinned. "Those Johnny Rebs from the 12th Infantry throw a wicked poker game. And half of 'em don't know how to bluff." He stood taller. "I did stick around for the sale. I can't believe that crappy lawn furniture went before I did." 
He'd succeeded in wigging me out on about ten different levels. But now wasn't the time to think about it. I needed to channel my inner Scarlet O'Hara. I'd asked for a miracle and I'd gotten one… sort of. At least I'd been given one more chance, with money that was more or less clean. Abandoned, at least. "Okay, so we go to Maisie Hatcher's house," I began. 
"Wait. You can't leave here." 
He cocked his head. "I can if I'm with you." 
I stood surprised for a moment, and not in a good way. "Okay. We'll leave. We'll talk to Maisie..."
~~~


I fell in love with this series from the first book! It is delightful, so delightful that I knew I wanted to read the entire series and follow it... Haven't said that for a very long time. But, hey, with a gutsy young lady who backed out of a wedding with the most eligible bachelor in town, when she discovers her fiancee assaulting her sister, is my kind of woman!

And it certainly wasn't her fault that that same fiancee had once given her a funeral urn containing the ashes of a long-departed relative! 


Well, let's go back to the wedding reception where Verity had appeared after leaving Beau, her fiancee at the altar and then attacked him at the reception...where his mother fainted, and then promptly thereafter sued Verity for the costly wedding that she had arranged for her son! Life is just not fair! But she didn't want to have the gossip all over their small town about what he'd done to her sister, as well as cheating on her with several other women...

So she was now living in her empty beautiful family home which she'd inherited from her grandmother. She'd sold everything that she could bear giving up, which was most everything, but she still owed $20,000 and the house was to be auctioned for that!

One of the things that had not sold was that old gift from Beau which she thought was a vase. Deciding to leave it on the mantel for the sale, she looked inside and realized how dirty it was, went outside and poured the contents around the rosebush and watered it down so it'd sink in...

And there was Frankie...who promptly screamed out what she'd done. Give you this, Verity is one cool lady and it didn't take long for her to adjust to seeing a ghost and begin to discuss what had been happening and why she had even had his ashes... But no matter what, Frankie was now doomed to live under a rose bush and could no longer roam free to pursue his former life as, now, a gangster ghost, as he had done while living... Of course, his hat covered the bullet hole in his forehead, and he appeared only in black and white, but Verity soon was at least talking with him, both wondering what to do next...

Bottom line, if Verity didn't find $20,000 immediately, for Frankie, he'd be stuck at a home where new people would be invading at any moment... He decided to help...

He just happened to know a certain ghost who had made a bundle on a race but who had died before he could use it...and Frankie would help Verity find it!

One thing you'll quickly find out about Verity is that she is completely honest, while Frankie is completely the opposite, so you'll be reading many negotiation discussions about what Frankie wants to do versus what Verity is willing to allow! And these discussions are so much a part of the fun found by all readers!

And the problem with getting the money was that the widow of the man who'd hidden the money had been looking for it for years and was barely getting by herself...

Even worse, when they entered the house where the money had been hidden, let's just say that Frankie wasn't the only ghost there...
I gripped my flashlight and summoned up my courage. "I love my house," I reminded myself on a whisper before squeezing my eyes shut tight. I steeled my courage, made sure my mouth was closed firm, and stepped forward. I love my house. I held my breath and reached out my hands. They tangled in the cold, filmy, sticky, otherworldly web. I love my house. I pressed forward as it touched my face and wound through my hair. I love my house. I screamed it in my head as the fibers caressed my arms and goose bumps rippled over my skin. That web felt like a living, breathing entity. It stretched out in front of me, surrounding me, blocking my way until… With a soft whoosh, I broke through.

The merge of the ghost interaction with actually solving a mystery is what makes this series so special. The characters are outstanding in their developed personalities. Each have stories that will draw you to care about them, especially some of the ghosts! Who knew?!😏

This author has a great gift in her story telling. It's imaginative, it's endearing, heartwarming, and yet, scary enough to enjoy being a little afraid... I especially enjoy the skill given to Verity in negotiating and working through tough situations, with humans...or...not...  No wonder Fox is a best selling author and I'm certainly glad I finally found her! Next review on a short story, A Ghostly Gift... Enjoy!


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