Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: The Grey Tier

I know I'm supposed to be posting about how I write my mysteries, but sometimes I get tired of hearing about me and want to talk about something else. Marlyn gets all the fun of reviewing books, so I thought I'd take a day off from my stuff and tell you about a mystery I just read.

The Grey Tier (A Dead Celeb Mystery) is Michele Scott's millionth book (okay, I might be exaggerating, but the woman is prolific), and I loved it. Devoured it, actually, in a couple of sittings, although I admit I'm a fast reader.

The story is a typical whodunit but the circumstances and characters are unique, as well as the paranormal world Michele has created. You can tell that she had fun putting this together, figuring out where we go when we die (according to the story) and making the rules that govern the otherworld.

She also had a lot of fun with the characters. It usually takes a while for me to warm up to the main character, but I liked Evie Preston almost from the start. I'll talk about her later, though. It's the supporting cast I loved from the get-go. From Evie's mentor, Betty LaRue, to the mysterious Mumbles, these were all real people with real hopes and problems… even the dead people.

There are several dead folks wandering about, some good and some evil, some famous and some not. Michele made them all interesting, mostly by making their appearances "full-fleshed" as opposed to vapory apparitions. Of course, only Evie can see them, even if they do seem real to her, in all of her senses. There's always a sense of humor in the scenes where she walks into her (haunted) house and smells marijuana because Bob Marley has come to pay a visit.

As far as the secondary characters, I was particularly surprised by Evie's boss, a pop-star named Simone. She begins the book as a typical diva - demanding attention, tossing a fit if she's unhappy, and behaving badly in general. Over the course of the story, she shows actual growth. Not in a huge, Ebeneezer-on-Christmas-morning way, but in a realistic way that made me think she might become human some day.

Now, back to Evie - main characters can make or break a book. I might find a plot or cast of characters engaging and fun, but I've got to not only like the protagonist, but believe in them. Evie struck the right balance with me of young but not stupid-young. She has the qualities that you like to see in a friend: empathy, respect, resourcefulness. She also has the qualities we need in a sleuth: curiosity, stubbornness, courage.

It's a hard balancing act for a writer. Your sleuth must be likeable, but not a pushover. They must poke their noses into places they have no business, places you and I would not go. But they can't be stupid about it either. Although I am far from Evie in age, it was easy to identify with her, and even do a little vicarious walking in her shoes.

My only problem with this book was there were unanswered questions - questions to obviously be answered in the next book. Michele reports that she's writing as fast as she can.

If you're interested in The Grey Tier, click here to get it.

This is the blurb, in case I didn't convince you to buy it:

What happens when a small town girl moves to Hollywood to pursue her dreams and winds up smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation, haunted by famous dead celebs, and working for the biggest pop star in the music industry?

Introducing Evie Preston: Small-town girl and under-the-radar healer, currently trapped in a po-dunk Texas town but yearning for something more. When fate gives her the opportunity to move to Hollywood to follow her dreams, Evie finds herself navigating through the land of glitz and glamour, and the realm of (dead) celebrities…

Raised in Brady, Texas by her minister father and her beauty shop-owner mother, Evie has been trying to get out of town for years. When an old family friend gives her an unexpected gift on her birthday, Evie finally gets the chance to start fresh out west. Against her father’s wishes, she packs up her guitar, her dog, Mama Cass, and heads for California.

Once in L.A., Evie finds a singing gig at a local dive bar where she meets a slew of interesting characters including the owner himself, a former child star with a hidden past. She also scores a day job doing make-up for a famous and foul-mouthed pop diva. One of the job perks includes house sitting at a Hollywood Hills mansion. But what Evie doesn’t know is the house is also home to some famous celebrity spirits, including that of former Grunge rocker, Lucas Minx.

As if things weren’t complicated enough, Evie finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery and discovers she’s being targeted by some nasty spirits. And to top things off, she’s developed a Texas-sized crush on her hot, but very dead, roommate, Lucas.

Maybe her dad was right and the City of Angels really is the City of Devils—all of them after her.

WARNING: Strong language, sexual content, and mild violence.

Bought it yet? What are you waiting for?


  1. Fun post, Gayle.

    And the trailer for THE GREY TIER is absolutely stellar!

  2. I love murder mysteries and with ghosts? All for it. I'm putting it on my list that just keeps growing and growing! Thanks for the rec!

  3. I love the way you write, Gayle. So you think I have the fun job, do you?
    Reviewing books is hard work, I tell ya!

  4. Looking forward to reading this one--it's in my Kindle, near the top of my virtual TBR pile. I'm still trying to get caught up on all her other work. The woman knows how to turn out books! I love the humor in this one (especially the hook with Bob Marley).

    Thanks for the preview, Gayle.


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