Thursday, April 4, 2019

Better Than Nun (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery #6)

Author:  Alice Loweecey
Genre:   Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635114829; 9781635114799
Henery Press Publishing
284 Pages
$31.95; $15.95; $4.99 Amazon
May 21, 2019


Giulia Driscoll used to say running a detective agency was the busiest job she'd ever had.  Then the ghosts showed up, and she figured now she's the busiest er.  This of course challenged the Universe to say, "Hold my beer."

Today she's running the agency, sleuthing on behalf of the ghosts, and being the mother of a two-month-old.  At last she understands those 5-Hour energy commercials.

The Universe then dropped two clients in her lap for Mardi Gras: a family greedy to find hidden money and the son of her least-favorite person, Ken Kanning of The Scoop.  The positive: a date night!  The not-so-positive: it's a working date night.  Driscoll Investigations is joining the big Mardi Gras costume charity gala to search for potential thieves.  Kanning Junior will be at the party showing off his tame ghost.

The Scoop, a few hundred drunk revelers, a mercenary family, and a ghost who isn't as tame as the kid thinks.  What could possibly go wrong?

Did someone just hear the Universe say, "Hold my beer"?


Ex-nun Giulia Driscoll is a new mom of a two-month-old son and owns DI Investigations, which has just taken a strange seems Giulia has the ability to communicate with ghosts.  Still new to this fact and adjusting, she's set ground rules for when they can contact her, and so far, they've agreed to abide by them.

But then she gets a bigger surprise: Ken Kanning of The Scoop has arrived on her doorstep and wants to hire her.  She dislikes him, and he knows it.  But he needs her help with his 11-year-old son, Kord.  It seems Kord has created a whiteboard that he uses to communicate with the dead.  At least that's what it appears to his viewers on YouTube.  Seeing the video, Giulia reluctantly agrees to help.  But what she learns isn't what she expects at all.

Then, two other clients show up at her office wanting to hire her team to find out where their late relative hid money in a home.  A home that's infested with creepy items everywhere, most of them supposedly haunted.  It will be decorated for Mardi Gras, and it's DI's job to come in costume and try to ferret out where the cash is hidden and also keep greedy guests away from stealing anything.  Again, Giulia gets a bigger surprise than she expected - and she thought just seeing the house of horrors itself was a surprise.

She also learns that Kord and his friend Shiloh will be at the gathering.  Shiloh is Kord's babysitter, and distraught at the sudden death of her father.  She's using the board to contact him, but even Kord doesn't know to what extent she's gone to get her father back in her life.  Giulia knows Shiloh may be in trouble, but won't accept her help.  All these things are connected, and Giulia is about to find out how, when she attends the party.

But the biggest surprise is yet to be revealed, and it's more than she either wants or expects, but with the help of her team and a few tricks of her own up her sleeve, Giulia has plans to take down any thieves she encounters and protect her clients as best she can, not realizing that it's her own self that might need the protecting most...

This series is one of the most interesting that I've encountered, and getting more so each time I read it.  Giulia is once again finding out that her life is becoming far too interesting and she's not sure how to handle it.  She'd rather spend her days as a new mother, but it isn't to be so.  She's now got several clients on her hands, and she's not fond of any of them.

It's no secret she dislikes Ken Kanning, believing The Scoop no more than a gossip magazine.  While Kanning knows this, he still wants his son to have her help, since the boy wants to get into a prestigious school and needs the exposure to do so.  Her other clients are unlikable as well.  Owen is greedy, nasty and snide; his aunt Blossom is snippy. 

What follows is a dark tale of greed, ghosts, and Giulia adjusting to her newfound abilities.  While it has its light moments, it's an intense tale that keeps you riveted to the page as you follow Giulia navigating her way through the chaos that ensues when she finds herself in the middle of the surreal diorama before her.

The tale is an esoteric one that draws you in almost from the first scene, and is extremely difficult to put down.  For those who are faint of heart or dislike creepy dolls, I suggest you read this during the daytime.  Reading it at night probably won't do much for a restful sleep.

However, it is masterfully written, tightly woven, and the threads of the tale start at the beginning and slowly weave together until you reach the end.  The surprises don't end until nearly the very last page, and they're worth waiting for, so do not be tempted to peek and find out the outcome ahead of time.  I loved the story and am anxiously waiting for the next installment, which I hope will be soon.  Highly recommended.


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