Deader Homes and Gardens by Angie Fox is the fourth book in the Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery series. The previous books, in order, were Southern Spirits, The Skeleton in the Closet, and The Haunted Heist with novellas between each book. I think the previous stories help to understand Verity's powers and some character dynamics. However, I think newcomers could catch up quickly and enjoy the story.
Southern belle Verity Long is back in business—as a ghost hunter. Now all she has to do is visit the town's creepiest mansion and exorcise a family of vengeful spirits. Piece of cake. After all, ghosts love her and need her...that is until she meets the ghosts of Rock Fall mansion. They'll do anything to keep their murderous secrets hidden within the cliff-side fortress—even if that means getting rid of one meddling ghost hunter. With the entire town skeptical and scrutinizing her every move, Verity struggles to uncover the century-old mystery behind the house. And when she stumbles upon a very fresh, very dead body, she realizes there’s more to it than she ever imagined. With the help of her sexy cop boyfriend, Ellis, and her ghostly gangster sidekick, Frankie, she braves the overgrown gardens, the desolate family cemetery, and the haunted mansion that have been locked away for generations.
Deader Homes and Gardens puts Verity and her ghostly partner Frankie back in the thick of a mystery. This time there are angry ghosts (yes again), Egyptian artifacts, and the possibility of an ancient curse. As Verity tries to solve the murders of an entire family, and avoid being killed by those same ghosts, Frankie is looking for more independence and Verity and Ellis are still trying to find their feet as a happy couple. I like that romance between Verity and Ellis is part of the story, and her character development, it does not overwhelm the story around the mystery or Frankie's own troubles. I liked the complication involved in the mystery- long assumed haunted house steeped in tragedy and odd happenings is the main focus of the story. Verity, Ellis, and Frankie all have their roles to play and I like that they each give each other the trust and space to do what they need to while being true to themselves. I will admit to seeing some of the final climax coming, but the journey was good fun and I enjoyed the read.
Deader Homes and Gardens is another fun, fast read by Fox. While it was not something that will stick with me after moving onto the next read, it certainly made what was hopefully the last snow day of the year more entertaining than expected.