“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.” ― William S. Burroughs
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages
Rating: 2 Stars
Blurb: Mason Kincaid’s life is about to change. He’s adjusting to being alone a year after the death of his lover when a call from his wayward sister sends him out west to New Eden to bring not only her, but her twin sons and a stepson home.
On the outskirts of New Eden, Mason secures a room in the last place his sister’s abusive boyfriend would expect: an adult motel where an eccentric madam allows the children to stay for a price. Despite her warnings about a resident ghost, after one night, Mason’s sure that fending off groping apparitions and violent johns will be his biggest problems. But when he meets Officer Ken Cannon for the second time, it’s at the scene of a double murder.
With possibility of romance looming in the background, bodies start piling up around Mason. While learning who he can trust, he must deal with a lovesick teenager, a ghost with a message for him, and becoming the owner of a hotel that once belonged to his “friendly” ghost. A hotel someone’s willing to kill for.
Review: Thirty-seven-year-old Mason Kincaid has come to New Eden with the intention of gathering up his sister Jackie, her three week old twin sons, and nineteen-year-old stepson Robbie Hunter, to take them away from a rather abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Ryan Nelson. As Mason arrives in New Eden, the first thing he does is check into a motel that is least likely to be considered a hide out by his sister’s soon to be ex-boyfriend, a place called Paradise Arms Motel, an adult paradise which boasts free porn and nude pool bathing. Not exactly what I’d think of as a family friendly place.
After bribing a very sympathetic motel owner, Anna Cannon, into accepting that he’ll be hiding out there with his sister and her children. She generously gives him a chicken’s foot talisman with a warning that it’s used to ward off ghosts. Later on that evening, Mason finds himself being attacked sexually as he sleeps in his bed, by a rather horny ghost by the name of Sam Jenkins, who has mistaken Mason for the lover who murdered him. Using the chicken’s foot to scare away the ghost, Mason goes out to the pool area to calm down after his encounter; there he meets Ray James, one of the whores who tend to the guests’ needs.
Mason is not only scared because of his supernatural encounter, but he’s also lonely since he lost his seventy-year-old partner, Lewis, to cancer the year before. So, he decides to hire Ray, feeling he doesn’t deserve anything better than a “fat whore” to serve his basic needs, even though he’s a man who has never felt good about having sex without love. Ray, who is described as pudgy and out of shape, among other not so flattering adjectives, keeps company with Mason for the rest of the night. The next morning, Mason sets off to the trailer park to pick up his sister, only to find out when he arrives that her and her boyfriend have been shot dead! The reasons for this tragedy could have something to do with a recent land purchase made by Jackie, and the story only goes downhill for me from there.
A majority of the time when I pick up a book and start to read, my imagination begins to form images of characters, emotions, and situations; a movie starts to flow in my head and while that’s happening, my emotions are engaging with the characters and situations. We’re happily bonding and becoming one! Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it with Dead Men Tell Tales. Things would start to form in my mind then quickly vanished, formed, then vanished again. It’s one of those rare instances where I failed to bond with the author’s imagination. And I really liked the premise of the storyline, buuut…. Mason was not a likable character to me, which is a make or break situation when we’re talking about the MC of a novel. There’s a lot of fat shaming going on in his references to Ray, not to mention some of the mixed signals Mason sends to his step-nephew Robbie, such as noticing the boy’s “nice bubble butt” when they’re in the shower naked together. Granted, Robbie isn’t Mason’s blood nephew, but still, some of Mason’s interactions with the boy felt more than gratuitous and in the end, didn’t add anything relevant to the plot.
I guess maybe I’m just the wrong audience for this one, as neither the author’s delivery nor his characters nor the situations he placed them in leapt off the page to draw me into the story. Sometimes a presentation is just too complicated for my simple mind to grasp, and I need a simpler flow of language, not to mention a better explanation of occurrences.
So, I’m sadly giving this one a 2 Star rating.