South of Salem (Allegra Fairweather #2) by Janni Nell
Source: netGalley.com / Carina Press
My mother thinks my job is crazy. I’m a paranormal investigator; she’s Nancy Reagan crossed with Martha Stewart. She’s always preferred my sister, Lily, who is following in her perfect footsteps.
But this time Mom needs my special skills. She believes my stepfather is possessed. I admit he’s not his usual dapper, charming self, but sleepwalking doesn’t sound that weird. Until the sleepwalking spreads through the family and cousin Donna walks right out of her apartment window to her death. Then my sister goes missing and I have to find her and solve the mystery before Lily and her unborn child are harmed.
Normally I would have assistance, but my right hand, a hunky angel I’ve nicknamed Casper, has business of his own to take care of—business that might take him out of my life forever. The stakes are too high for me to lose, but I’m not sure I can do it alone…
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First off, I’d like to thank Carina Press and netGalley for this book. I was very excited when it came up as an option on netGalley because I enjoyed reading Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator last summer (my thoughts here).
In her debut, Janni Nell set up a world in which Allegra deals with all sorts of paranormal stuff, armed primarily with quirky wit, an itchy big toe, and her guardian angel. This summer, it’s time for Allegra’s second adventure where she deals with something even more fearsome: her family. This has a lot of built-in comedy since Allegra feels like she’s on the outside of her mother and sister’s relationship, not to mention her in-laws. (Creepily, Allegra’s mother and sister are married to a man and his son. Creepy but not illegal.)
Allegra has a fractious relationship with her relatives. She’s incredibly jealous of her older sister Lily and her mother is rather embarrassed by Allegra’s paranormal work. It was a lot of fun seeing Allegra really out of her element since the paranormal side of things is only one component of South of Salem. We get to learn a lot more about her family dynamics but what I was most interested in was learning more about Allegra’s missing father. A nice amount of information is revealed over the course about South of Salem and I can’t wait to see how this influences Allegra’s future work.
Of course, on top of her deep-seated family issues, Allegra’s also fighting against a ghost who’s coaxing her in-laws’ families to death. She does it with her usual amount of wit, stubbornness, and angelic assistance. As with Allegra Fairweather, there were a couple moments where I knew what Allegra needed to do before she came to the conclusion herself but I was generally quite happy with the pacing and progress of the novel. The paranormal problem that Allegra faces is neat and I enjoyed watching her struggle to find a solution.
According to the author’s blog, a third Allegra Fairweather story is on its way and I’m very excited to see what happens to her next. The books are urban fantasy-lite, if you know what I mean, but sometimes it’s just what you need. They’re definitely a nice break from the darker stories I tend to gravitate toward and I’m glad I was able to get a copy of South of Salem.