Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review: The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, Book #6)
by Cleo Coyle
Release Date: September 25th 2018
2018 Berkley
Kindle Edition; 320 Pages
ISBN: 978-0425237458
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Cozy
Source: Review copy from publisher / Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours

4/5 Stars

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn't believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful...

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it--literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

My Thoughts
The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller is the sixth book in the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series, and is quite a long-anticipated book considering the last one came out around 2009. I had been a big fan of the series, but admittedly lost interest when I saw there was no further book in sight so I literally jumped at the chance to read this when I saw it.  Then I wondered if I had to read the other ones again in order to remind myself of the characters and events, slightly panicked as I really did not have the time, but once I started the book, realized I didn't have to do that.  The author made it really easy to slip back into Penny and Sadie's world and I truly enjoyed that fact and the book.

Penelope, Sadie, Jack, Spencer, Seymour, and Eddie are definitely back for another great adventure and I really felt like I slipped into their world so easily, despite it being almost ten years.  Jack, by the way, is a ghost who is attached to Penelope (a tale told in another book) and I have always loved his 1940s slang and way of looking at things.  I always imagined he has this really sexy voice to go with his looks (he is able to take Pen to his time in her dreams), and love the scenes when he is around. He also has a unique perspective which helps her look at things differently from how she would see them.  I often wondered what the author would do with Jack though if and when Pen finds someone and develops a new relationship.  I think it would be awkward to have Jack in the background making comments during the more intimate moments, you know?  What I really enjoy about the characters however, is the way they treat each other.  It's not one of those novels where the police are put down or seen as not doing their jobs and I rather like that, but I could have done without the cliche Chief Ciders.  There is little sneaking into things, but people finding out information through random events which make it seem more realistic.  I definitely enjoyed Seymour a lot more in this one and thought his character was funny and interesting.  I would love to see a lot more development for him as I think there is a lot going for him.

I really enjoyed the events in this novel, even if I found the mystery easy to solve and pretty much knew who the murderer was almost from the beginning.  But it was definitely fun watching Pen and Seymour sort through the clues trying to figure out who the author of the bogus bestseller was as well as who was the murderer.  The author has such an engaging writing style that knowing who did it didn't really matter (which is why I love her Coffeehouse Mystery series so much); I was just along for the ride and the entertainment.  That being said, I don't want to downplay the mystery as it was complex and full of twists and turns. I also liked how Jack's past cases connected with the current one - so neatly done.  

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller was a great new addition to the series and I really hope there are more coming our way and we don't have to wait almost ten years before the next one.  Because it's been so long between books, I don't think it really matters if you've read the previous books or not, although you might want to read them just because.  I like the relationship Penelope has with Jack and love the trick of Pen carrying a token from Jack's past which enables him to leave the bookshop with her.  It's a neat little twist that opens so many doors and continues to make this series so successful.

About the Author

 Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries–now celebrating nearly fifteen years in print. They also write the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, which were originally published under their second pseudonym, Alice Kimberly (The Ghost and Mrs. McClureThe Ghost and the Dead DebThe Ghost and the Dead Man’s LibraryThe Ghost and the Femme FataleThe Ghost and the Haunted Mansion). Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.


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  1. Just dropping by to thank you for taking the time to read our work and share your thoughts. Marc and I appreciate it. Jack and Pen are close to our hearts, and we're pleased that readers are welcoming them back after so much time away. We're now at work on the next Haunted Bookshop Mystery, and we'll keep everyone informed on the pub date. We promise you won't have to wait another ten years! Our warmest wishes for a...

    Happy Halloween Season!

    ~ Cleo Coyle