Welcome to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains, it''s home to the hottest and sweetest peppers int he world - as well as at least one ghost and a hotbed of secrets...
Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn - who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes - and the lawman.
Adding fuel to the fire, Stella's parents soon arrive - with her ex-boyfriend - hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she's better think fast of more than her investigation could go up in flames...
Small town politics, family legacy, ex-boyfriend, strong female, missing $30 million, and the ghost of the murdered fire chief. Stella has successfully re-established the volunteer fire brigade; the job she went to Sweet Pepper to do is done, but she is still there. Her parents and some in Sweet Pepper start asking her when she is going back to Chicago, including the ghost of Eric Gamlyn. Until there's a fire in the fire house he built, everyone thought he died in the line of duty, but his bones are found in the walls of the fire house that hasn't been used for many years and it is now known that he was murdered. He continues to haunt his house - the same one Stella is staying in, but only she can see and talk to him. Who killed Eric? Who is buried in Eric's coffin? Who killed Deputy Chum? What was the role of Ben Carson, Stella's grandfather, in all this? Where does Stella want to live - Sweet Pepper or Chicago? Lots of twists and turns with many likable and unique characters and relationships (including the one between Stella and Eric). The way it ends suggests another one coming.... That Old Flame of Mine is the first in the series and there is a novella, Hero's Journey, that I may have to read in the meantime.
About J.J. Cook:
J.J. Cook’s first mystery, That Old Flame of Mine, became an instant bestseller in 2013. Playing with Fire is the second book in that series. They write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.
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