Title: The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out (The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks #2)
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Release Date: December 18, 2018
Genre(s): Murder / Mystery
Page Count: 184
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Now living in Los Angeles with former navy SEAL Nick Reno, artist Perry Foster comes to the rescue of elderly and eccentric Horace Daly, the legendary film star of such horror classics as Why Won’t You Die, My Darling?
Horace owns the famous, but run-down, Hollywood hotel Angels Rest, rumored to be haunted. But as far as Perry can tell, the scariest thing about Angels Rest is the cast of crazy tenants–one of whom seems determined to bring down the final curtain on Horace–and anyone else who gets in the way.
Aspiring artist Perry and ex-navy SEAL turned PI Nick have moved from Vermont to California for a fresh start together, but just like in “The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks” somehow they are still managing to encounter possibly ghost-related murders in mysterious circumstances.
Perry is sketching Angel’s Rest – a wonderfully creepy overgrown former hotel owned by famous horror film star Horace Daly – when he hears screams and ends up rescuing Horace Daly from three masked men wearing capes and carrying wooden swords. Kind-hearted Perry offers to help Horace solve the mystery of who is trying to kill him, and he returns for the weekend with his boyfriend Nick in tow.
Lanyon introduces us to an eccentric cast of characters living in Angel’s Rest: Horace’s passive aggressive cousin Sissy and her husband Jonah who firmly believe Horace is making up all these murder attempts simply for attention, a psychic, a writer, a sous chef, one of Horace’s former co-stars / lover, an aging boxer who was once Horace’s bodyguard … oh, and a huge pet alligator named Wally. Combined with Horace’s macabre collection of props from his horror films, Angel’s Rest is the perfect setting for this engaging mystery. Lanyon gives us plenty of clues, misdirects and red herrings throughout the story to keep us readers engaged, as well as slowly giving us more depth into Perry and Nick’s relationship. There’s little romance but I love seeing Nick embrace Perry’s strengths and the way they support each other.
The pace of the story feels comfortable as we slowly get more details about the various secondary characters and possible motives, and while the ending brings all the threads together nicely, the resolution feels a bit too rushed. If you’re looking for an absolutely gripping mystery that rivets you to your chair, “The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out” is not it. But it’s an engaging romp with a huge cast of odd characters and if you are looking for an easy read, it’s very satisfying. 4 stars.