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Don of the Dead (Pepper Martin Mysteries, No. 1) Mass Market Paperback – May 30, 2006

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Don of the Dead (Pepper Martin Mysteries, No. 1) + The Chick and the Dead (Pepper Martin Mysteries, No. 2) + Tombs of Endearment (Pepper Martin Mysteries, No. 3)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; 2nd Printing edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060821469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060821463
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 4.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Combining elements of a cozy mystery and a paranormal romance, this debut aims for fresh and sassy; while it delivers fare both conventional and canned, it's redeemed in the end. The book's big flaw is its unappealing protagonist, Pepper Martin, a cemetery tour guide in Cleveland who thinks her best asset is her big chest. She wields the power of the twins often while investigating the death of former mob boss Gus Scarpetti—at the behest of the wise guy himself. Ever since Pepper hit her head on Gus's mausoleum, she's been able to see and talk to his ghost. Pepper would rather nab a job in Saks's shoe department and a handsome man with deep pockets than turn amateur sleuth. But in the absence of Prince Charming, she settles for investigating Gus's 30-year-old murder and lusting after a gorgeous cop and an enigmatic brain doctor. Without an engaging voice, the first third of the book drags; when it heats up, though, the carefully woven mystery helps compensate for what Pepper lacks, as does the well-defined and likable Gus. Indeed, despite some plot holes and flimsy characterizations, Daniels pulls the mystery together in the end, showing promise for a better book two. (May 30)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Clever, intelligent and well written.” (Washington Times)

“Daniels cleverly sets up a fun new series...a tightly plotted story with a likable amateur sleuth.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub)

“Daniel’s first offering is a fast, fun read, perfect for the beach and ripe for a follow-up.” (Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, SD))

“A delightful read!” (Roberta Isleib, author of FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN)

“A spooky mystery, a spunky heroine, and sparkling wit! Give us more!” (Kerrelyn Sparks, author of HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE VAMPIRE)

“There’s not a ghost of a chance you’ll be able to put this book down. Write faster, Casey Daniels.” (Emilie Richards, USA Today bestselling author)

“[A] charming, imaginative mystery that transcends the boundaries of time, death and predictability, peppered with some delightful romantic twists. (Linda O. Johnstone, author of NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FERRETS)

“Carrie of Sex in the City going Six Feet Under with The Sopranos. Hip, original, out-of-this world fun!” (Laura Bradley, author of SPRAYED STIFF)

“[F]abulous! One of the funniest books I’ve read this year. Or last year, come to think of it.” (MaryJanice Davidson, USA Today bestselling author)

“The fast paced dialogue and plenty of twists keep the reader turning the pages…I can’t wait to read more!” (Shirley Damsgaard, author of WITCH WAY TO MURDER)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Wiley VINE VOICE on June 16, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pepper Martin has been down on her luck ever since her rich father was convicted of fraud and her even wealthier fiancé dumped her, forcing Pepper to actually work for a living. Unfortunately, she's not qualified to do much and so she's stuck being a tour guide for "Cleveland's Famous Dead" at the Garden View Cemetary.

Life is pretty dull as a tour guide of the dead until a bump on the head allows Pepper to see and talk to the ghost of mob boss, Augustino "Gus" Scarpetti. Gus wants his "unfinished business" handled so he can enter into the light. Pepper's problem is that no one knows who murdered Gus nor does anyone want to talk about it and Gus won't go away until she finds the murderer. Soon, she is being stalked by crazy mob hitman Albert Vigniolli while torn between her attraction to two men, cop Quinn Harrison and Dr. Dan Callahan who appears only interested in her head injury. Pepper is determined to identify Gus's killer- but will the current mob leadership stop her?

DON OF THE DEAD is a book with unrealized potential. The plotline is a unique twist on seeing ghosts but the characterization of Pepper is too superficial to add much depth. Pepper is overly focused on her past social standing and her 38C chest but doesn't have the quirkiness or sassiness of a MaryJanice Davidson heroine to truly make this work.

Pepper's dilemma between which man she wants in her life is also troublesome. Quinn appears overly wealthy for a man with his job and is constantly warning Pepper to stop her investigation and yet he simply fades away during the book. Dan Callahan, on the other hand, remains focused only on Pepper's brain until he suddenly morphs into some sort of Jet Li action hero.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on June 23, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pepper Martin has lived the life of leisure since she took her first step all those years ago. The daughter of a prominent surgeon father, and a society mother, she's been draped in Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and countless other designers. That is, until her father got greedy, and was convicted of medical insurance fraud, landing him in federal prison; sending her mother into hiding in Florida, and leaving her on her own, penniless and jobless - as well as fiance-less. That is, until Pepper swallows her pride and takes the last job she ever thought she would hold as a tour guide in a cemetery. Sure, it doesn't sound too complicated - simply lead morbid groups on walks through a field of dead bodies - but when Pepper's involved, even the simplest task can become complicated. And that's exactly what happens. For Pepper is quickly involved in a head-on collision with a gravestone/mausoleum on one of her tours. And, aside from being left with one nasty bruise, she has suddenly inherited the ability to speak to the dead. And, as you may have already guessed, these particular deceased aren't exactly pleased with their current situations - and that shines through in their disgruntled demeanor. Enter Augustino "Gus" Scarpetti. Suddenly, the murdered mob boss is leading Pepper around by the nose, insisting that she find his murderer. Now, this ex-rich girl is shuffling through newspaper clippings, death records, and everything in between, in an attempt to discover who killed the Don more than thirty years ago, and help him to cross over before it's too late, and she's left in the same position as the Don...dead.

If you take a cross between Paris Hilton and Nancy Drew, Pepper Martin would be it. Pepper is the girl you love to hate and hate to love.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By moria2 on June 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don of the Dead is a cute, quick read. The tone/humor is somewhat similar to Katie MacAlister, early Anita Blake (without the intelligence) and the Stephanie Plum mystery series. Although the fact the is was praised by MJ Davidson on the back cover almost made me not buy it, Don of the Dead isn't as uber fashion conscious and annoying as her books. Don't fret if you like that kinda thing, there are a few fashionista moments. Although I was disappointed by the stupidity of Pepper a few times where she invariably found herself being rescued by a man, at least these moments could at least partially be explained by her sheltered upper-middle class upbringing when she thought that marring well was her only duty/job (yes, Pepper says it in the book). By the end of the tale, Pepper has met two sexy men. One (Quinn) is the cool, suave, well-kept and fashion conscious FBI- type and the other a very attractive if slightly unkempt doctor. Both men are a bit curious and for various reasons, I think these reasons will be both reveled and interesting in later books as they show some promise here. The Don in question has been dead for 30 years, and some of the characters encountered while tying to locate the person whom took out the hit on him are pretty funny. The humor is very good although subtle and punny at times, such as retired mobsters living in an exclusive retirement home called "The Family Place". I look forward to the next book since I think the Pepper wised-up a bit by the end of this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mookie on December 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I couldn't even finish this book. But, even in the 4 chapters that I read I understand that she has a bra size of 38C, that her "breast jiggle under her sweater", and that men always notice her chest. I got sick of reading about her boobs and walked away from the book.
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