Official Review: Ghost Dog by Helen Currie Foster

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Official Review: Ghost Dog by Helen Currie Foster

Post by bookowlie » 22 Feb 2015, 20:35

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Ghost Dog" by Helen Currie Foster.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Ghost Dog by Helen Currie Foster is the second installment in the Alice McDonald Greer Mystery series. It is a mystery set in Coffee Creek, a small town in Texas Hill Country where everyone knows everyone or knows their mother, friend, etc. Annie Temple, a folk/country singer icon, is found dead in a pool right before Tessa McElroy’s concert at Twin Springs Studio, Ray and Toni Gimble’s recording studio/retreat. Tessa, a young singer-songwriter, immediately becomes a suspect in Annie’s murder. The Gimbles claim that Tessa signed over the publishing rights to a song of their choosing, and they chose Tessa’s best song, Hills. They sold the song for Annie to use in a commercial. Discovering this information just before the concert, Tessa says that she would never have signed away the rights to her favorite song.

Small-town contracts lawyer Alice McDonald Greer becomes involved in the case, since Tessa was staying at her home temporarily. Cowboy-poet style singer Blanton Geddes is also missing, although no one seems that concerned at first. He has gone off the grid a few times before, although this time he leaves behind his truck, recordings for a new song cycle, and an unpublished book. There is also a mysterious dog that hovers whenever Alice goes to the Twin Springs Studio retreat to search for clues. The stage is set for a mystery about the country music industry, sprinkled with a healthy dash of homespun Texas Hill Country culture.

I felt like I was wrapped up in a warm, country blanket while reading this book. The Texas Hill Country setting is like an extra character in the book, giving a cozy, down-home feel to the story. The quirky, folksy characters of Coffee Creek are written so vividly that I felt like I lived there. In fact, after reading this book, I wanted to live there! The descriptions of the places in the book, such as the Beer Barn and the bookshop that Alice and Ben visit on their road trip, are particularly well written.

The pacing of the mystery is a bit slow at times, although it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the book. Blanton Geddes’ disappearance is brought up early in the story, and then not brought up again until much later. I don’t necessarily consider the slow pacing a negative in this book, as it is consistent with the laid-back style of the setting. I guess it’s just my taste in mysteries that I like a faster pace in a story. I am always eager to find out “whodunit”.

The real strength of the book lies in the author’s ability to make the characters and setting come alive to the reader. Alice is the main character in the story, although all of the characters, even the minor ones, are well drawn. I felt like I knew the owners of the Beer Barn, Steve the Gimbles’ assistant, and even M.A, Twin Springs Studio’s neighbor. The author does a good job of painting a picture of Coffee Creek and its inhabitants. There is only one character, Ben Kinsear, that I felt the author was inconsistent in the way he was referred to. When he is first introduced, Alice calls him Ben. When he appears again in the story, he is referred to as Kinsear. Since he was an old friend and potential romantic interest, I thought it odd that Alice would call him Kinsear. I wasn’t even sure he was the same person without looking back to the earlier chapters.

This book is the second installment in the Alice MacDonald Greer Mystery series. Although I haven’t read the first book, I didn’t feel it was necessary to have read it in order to fully understand this book. That’s always a good thing, since many readers don’t want to feel they have to start a series with the first book.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Even with the slow pacing, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was like savoring a leisurely meal with a good friend. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a cozy mystery or just a good book with a distinctive setting. I look forward to reading more of this series.

******
Ghost Dog
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Post by gali » 24 Feb 2015, 23:33

Thank you for the great review. Sounds like an intriguing book. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by PashaRu » 24 Feb 2015, 23:40

Thanks for a nice review. The way the Texas Hill Country is described sounds appealing. Almost enough all by itself to merit reading the book.
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Post by bookowlie » 25 Feb 2015, 00:12

Thanks Gali for your kind words.

-- 25 Feb 2015, 01:15 --
PashaRu wrote:Thanks for a nice review. The way the Texas Hill Country is described sounds appealing. Almost enough all by itself to merit reading the book.
PashuRu - Thanks for the compliment. You hit the nail on the head. I never even heard of Texas Hill Country before reading this book, and now I want to go there! It also doesn't hurt that the book's plot is very good. :lol: :lol:
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Post by ALynnPowers » 26 Feb 2015, 03:59

I read your review, and I decided that it was okay. I repeat: just okay. It could have been better. You left out a really important detail in the beginning of the review, and this mistake will haunt you for the rest of your life. You mentioned that this book is the second installment in this series, but you didn't state the name of the first book and every other book that has ever been written by this author and every single achievement she has gotten throughout her life. I know I could just go look these up myself, but I feel like you as a reviewer should be the one to do it for me.

:laughing-lmao:

Just kidding! Great review! It sounds awesome! I especially like your description of the setting as an extra character in the book. 8)

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Post by bookowlie » 26 Feb 2015, 08:41

ALynn,
I read your review of my review, and it's okay. I repeat, just okay. It could have been better. You left out the name of the first book you ever reviewed, the names of every review you've ever written, and every writing award you received in college. I could look these up myself, but I feel you should have provided this info for me. :lol: :lol:
:banana-jumprope: :banana-guitar: :banana-dance: :banana-linedance: :banana-linedance:

Of course, I am just kidding. :D I enjoy reading books where I feel I am transported to another town, region, country, etc. One of the first books I reviewed for this site was about an American living with her family in Paris. The plot was great, but I also loved reading about Paris culture.
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Post by ALynnPowers » 26 Feb 2015, 08:59

bookowlie wrote:ALynn,
I read your review of my review, and it's okay. I repeat, just okay. It could have been better. You left out the name of the first book you ever reviewed, the names of every review you've ever written, and every writing award you received in college. I could look these up myself, but I feel you should have provided this info for me. :lol: :lol:
:banana-jumprope: :banana-guitar: :banana-dance: :banana-linedance: :banana-linedance:

Of course, I am just kidding. :D I enjoy reading books where I feel I am transported to another town, region, country, etc. One of the first books I reviewed for this site was about an American living with her family in Paris. The plot was great, but I also loved reading about Paris culture.
Interesting to know that you enjoy a good setting. I'll keep that in mind if I come across any books you may be interested in. 8)

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Post by bookowlie » 26 Feb 2015, 09:15

Thanks! One of the best parts of this book was learning about a region of Texas that I had never even heard of before.
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Post by Stevefromtheblock » 27 Feb 2015, 17:27

Thanks for the review. You mentioned a mysterious dog. Is that the dog from the title? Does it play a large role in the story?
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Post by bookowlie » 27 Feb 2015, 17:37

Stevefromtheblock wrote:Thanks for the review. You mentioned a mysterious dog. Is that the dog from the title? Does it play a large role in the story?
I don't want to answer that, since it would be giving spoilers. :)
Suffice it to say that there is a twist toward the end of the story.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 28 Feb 2015, 16:55

Great review!

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Post by bookowlie » 28 Feb 2015, 22:30

zeldas_lullaby wrote:Great review!
Thanks for the kind words. By the way, I love your profile photo.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 28 Feb 2015, 22:43

Thanks! That's Mr. Kitten, chewing on one of my books. He's a baaaaaad little kitty. This was after he knocked over a whole stack of books and flung himself on top of them. (It was a Kodak moment.)

I like yours too! It reminds me of the owl from Winnie the Pooh.

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Post by bookowlie » 28 Feb 2015, 22:52

Well, that's funny! "I thought it was a photo of your dog napping, and I assumed your dog's name was Zelda. I thought "Zelda's Lullaby" was connected to the photo of your sleeping dog. :)
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 28 Feb 2015, 23:04

Oh! Ha ha. No, Zelda's Lullaby is a gorgeous piece of video game music from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, as well as other Zelda games in the series. I can play it on the piano, and I just think it's really beautiful. It's just a simple melody, but it's so sincere and pure and inspiring.

Actually, the doggie is named Echo, and she came with the name. I got her in 2003 as a young adult, already-named doggie. It didn't seem right to rename her. I did get to name the kitty, though. (His official name is Milton, but Mr. Kitten is a popular nickname for him.)

Are you having a nice evening? If were being too off-topic, you can PM me the answer. :-)

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