When vintage-boutique owner Nicki Styx suffers a near-death experience, she comes back from the Light with the ability to see and hear ghosts. Before she knows it, the dead are hounding her day and night, in the hopes that she’ll help tie up their loose ends. Sometimes this just means passing on a last message of love. But when Nicki’s friend Caprice is killed, Nicki’s life really gets messy.
Caprice’s boyfriend Mojo has been thrown in jail, accused of Caprice’s murder. Caprice wants him freed. She claims he’s innocent, that the crime was committed by the woman Mojo was seeing on the side. Mojo has yet another version of events. Nicki has no idea how to untangle the mystery, but she’d better do it fast, because Caprice’s spirit is turning into something nasty. Something demonic. Meanwhile, Nicki is falling in love with her doctor, Joe Bascombe, whose estranged wife just might be Nicki’s long-lost twin sister.
Nicki is a character with lots of potential — snarky and tough on the outside but secretly vulnerable. Unfortunately, she becomes less dynamic as the plot unfolds, letting herself get pushed around by Joe and by Caprice’s grandmother, Granny Julep. And the supporting cast is straight from the shelves of Cliché-Mart. The sexy doctor. The wise black matriarch who knows voodoo. The flaming gay best friend. The voodoo is stereotypical as well; Terri Garey presents most of the loa as “evil” even though that’s not the way they’re seen within the religion.
Still, I might have found this a fun (if fluffy) read if it weren’t for an astounding blunder Nicki makes toward the end. I complain sometimes about heroines who are handed the solution to the mystery rather than figuring it out. This is worse — Nicki is handed the solution, and it goes right over her head. Granny Julep tells her, by name, who is controlling Caprice’s spirit. Umm, Nicki, haven’t you heard that name somewhere before? Nicki doesn’t recognize it, or even seem to realize that the danger is still out there. She just goes on her merry way, thinking she’s free of the whole voodoo thing, until the villain attacks her again. I’m all for flawed characters who make mistakes, but this one was just moronic.
Oh, and the whole “he might be married to my sister” thing is just kind of icky, especially in a light, humorous novel like Dead Girls Are Easy.
Nicki Styx — (2007-2009) Publisher: There’s something about almost dying that makes a girl rethink her priorities. Take Nicki Styx — she was strictly goth and vintage, until a brush with the afterlife leaves her with the ability to see dead people. Before you can say boo, Atlanta’s ghosts are knocking at Nicki’s door. Now her days consist of reluctantly cleaning up messes left by the dearly departed, leading ghouls to the Light… and one-on-one anatomy lessons with Dr. Joe Bascombe, the dreamy surgeon who saved her life. All this catering to the deceased is a real drag, especially for a girl who’d rather be playing hanky-panky with her hunky new boyfriend… who’s beginning to think she’s totally nuts. But things get even more complicated when a friend foolishly sells her soul to the devil, and Nicki’s new gift lands her in some deep voodoo. As it turns out for Nicki Styx, death was just the beginning.