Wednesday, August 15, 2007
A Perfect 10: THE FOREVER SUMMER by Suzanne Macpherson
THE FOREVER SUMMER - Suzanne Macpherson
A Perfect 10
Contemporary Romance with Paranormal Touches
Port Gamble, Washington – The Present
Lila Abbott works in Market Foods. Today she is handing out samples of Cheez Whiz on Ritz Crackers. Unfortunately, Emily Ruth Griffin drops dead a few feet from Lila after eating one of the crackers. The produce manager gives Emily Ruth CPR, but to no avail. By happenstance, Lucas Griffin, Emily Ruth’s ex, shows up at the store shortly after Emily has been wheeled out. He saw her Jag in the parking lot and came in to see if she was going to their scheduled meeting with a lawyer. Lucas is very vocal about his ex-witch. Emily Ruth had left her Pomeranian, Schatzie, in the Jag. The dog is barking its head off in the parking lot, and Police Chief Bob Boniford asks Lila to rescue Schatzie. At the end of the day, she ends up with the dog.
Police Chief Boniford believed Emily Ruth died of natural causes even as young as she was. He didn’t protect the scene, or for that matter take much interest in the case other than taking statements. Lila secured Emily Ruth’s shopping cart, wheeling it into a refrigerated unit. She found a list that makes her suspect Emily Ruth was shopping for a dinner date. Later it turns out Emily Ruth had a severe peanut allergy, often reacting within thirty seconds of ingesting anything with a trace of peanuts. When Emily Ruth starts haunting Market Foods each Monday at 10:36, the day and time she died, Lila, who is Port Gamble’s acknowledged ghost whisperer, tries to help Emily Ruth’s ghost finish whatever business is keeping her from heaven -- or in this case, maybe hell.
Port Gamble is a resort town and local girl Emily Ruth scored big when she married one of the summer boys who vacation in the huge beachfront mansions. Lucas divorced her after he found her in bed with his brother, Jason, but not before she ran through his trust fund. Now Jason is dead, and a judge gave bloodsucking Emily Ruth lifetime possession of the beach house, which has been in the Griffin family for over a hundred years. Motive for murder? While Lucas was in Iraq reporting on the war, Emily Ruth turned Lucas’s family against him and claimed she was pregnant, which is why his family didn’t contest the settlement. Lucas doesn't care that she is dead; she deserved it, but he claims he didn’t kill her. Then the police chief decides he was conspiring with Lila and they both come under suspicion.
Those are the important characters in this offbeat murder mystery romance, but there is a refreshing assortment of secondary characters adding humor and depth to the story. Lila and Lucas’s unlikely romance bounces down a potholed road of experience, preconceptions, and the dilemmas of their present situation. After all, a summer boy left Lila pregnant at sixteen and never looked back, and Lucas's experience with local girl Emily Ruth has already been mentioned. What’s great about THE FOREVER SUMMER is that the mix works. The characters are intriguing. The murder mystery is fascinating. Emily Ruth’s post-death appearances are both scary and funny. Lila and Lucas are just right for each other and, while their bodies speak to each other, they remain blind to the fact. Add the witty dialogue, both spoken and thought, and author Suzanne Macpherson has written a wonderful story that deserves a Perfect 10.