by Stephanie Alexander
Series: Tipy Collins #1
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
I BookLikes friend read and rated this highly recently, and I’m always onboard for a ghost story-mystery set in Charleston. Her standards are far more exacting than mine, so I felt confident buying it and its sequel the other day
Unfortunately, I can’t say I loved it. I’m conflicted about even saying I liked it, although it was a good, well-written story, with the exception of a few formatting errors and at least a couple of grammatical ones, though still fewer of both than I normally find in most traditionally published books.
At first I thought the problem for me was the third person present POV. In my opinion it’s the least forgiving POV available to authors and as such very hard to get right. Done wrong, characters are flat and lifeless.
But the characters weren’t flat and lifeless. Except for the main one, Tipsy herself, and ultimately this was what held me back from completely enjoying this book. She was a dishrag, and not just because she’d just gone through a difficult divorce, but because she’d been something of a dishrag her whole life. Not a victim, not even a doormat, but just a non-entity. A time or two she caught fire and those moments were ones I enjoyed thoroughly, but they happened way too rarely to make up for all the rest of the book, where she just drifted through.
On the plus side, the ghosts were great, and I enjoyed the parts where Tipsy painted, likely because they were the only times she wasn’t passive. But I truly enjoyed the story behind the ghosts and the mystery of how they died.
I was prepared to jump directly into the second book, Haint Blue, but I flipped through it this morning, and caught a passage that’s completely turned me off. It’s obvious that the author’s need to write as true to life as possible means taking the reader on the same emotional roller coaster of relationships that most people would give a kidney to avoid experiencing in real life, but are bound to go through anyway. Bound to or not in real life, I’m not obligated to experience it again in my books, and the passage that caught my eye has Tipsy acting like a melodramatic teen. No, thank you. Maybe someday, but for now I’m stopping with Charleston Green and calling it good.
I read this because it looked good, but I’m also using it for Halloween Bingo 2021 on my Murder Most Foul square.