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Dead girls are easy

by Terri Garey.

Publishers Weekly : Following a near-death experience, the owner of a vintage clothing store in Atlanta discovers that she can see dead people—and worse, hear them—in this sprightly but derivative series launch. When Nicki Styx awakens in the hospital after a heart attack, she doesn't intend to let her newfound heart defect cramp her funky style—but a series of close encounters with ghosts might, particularly her meeting with a murdered friend, Caprice, who seems intent on dragging Nicki into the voodoo underworld. On the plus side, the clinical interest of sexy emergency room doctor Joe Bascombe (who's researching near-death experiences) warms into a fascination with Nicki herself; he has more than a little trouble, however, accepting her otherworldly encounters. As threats to Nicki and her friends mount, lively writing may keep genre fans reading, but the episodic plot feels slight, and Nicki is frustratingly uninterested in her own backstory (for instance, Nicki is adopted, but shows little curiosity when Joe suggests his estranged wife might be Nicki's identical twin). (Sept.)

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