A mother-in-law that only agrees to help you pay off your disappeared husband’s debts if you pay her back-with significant interest-isn’t the kind of person any woman would want hanging around watching her every move. Maryse Robicheaux is no different. When her mother-in-law Helena dies suddenly, she doesn’t exactly miss her. However, her moment of relief only lasts halfway through Helena’s funeral. She can’t figure out why no one else is freaking out at the site of Helena climbing back out of her coffin. The bigger problem is, Helena isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Trouble in Mudbug is the first book in the “Ghost-in-Law Series” by Jana DeLeon. The adorable cover first caught my eye. The covers for all three books are cute, but the premise of the book sounded interesting as well. It reminded me of Ann Everett’s “Laid Out and Candle Lit,” which I loved, so I was willing to give this book a try. For those who enjoy Ann Everett and Janet Evanovich, you’ll probably be entertained by this one.
It’s not nearly as funny as Everett or Evanovich, but it did have me chuckling when Maryse finds herself completely unable to ignore Helena’s ghost and ends up making statements like, “I never wear underwear!” There is also a lot of humor between the two main characters as far as the romance goes. DeLeon did a good job of playing Maryse and Luc off one another. Helena was by far the funniest part of the book. Her wardrobe challenges provide humor in just the right places, and her antagonistic nature frequently riles Maryse up to the point of something going badly wrong.
Given that this is a mystery romance, I expected both to play a big part, and I wasn’t disappointed for the most part. The romance between Maryse and Luc is engaging and steamy. Maryse is determined not to give him the time of day, practically throwing herself at another man to accomplish it, and Luc is supposed to stay focused on his work, not Maryse’s curves. DeLeon kept the tension up throughout the book pretty well. There was one sex scene that I wouldn’t let my teenage nieces read, but that was the only part like that.
As for the mystery, it was interesting. I didn’t feel like it was incredibly gripping, and at times I thought the clues were not terribly subtle. I correctly guessed who the killer was two-thirds of the way through the book. I was still entertained by the twisty path DeLeon took the mystery down before revealing the answers, but the mystery behind Helena’s actions was more entertaining to me than the murder mystery in some ways. Throughout the book you get hints that even though Helena was the worst mother-in-law on the planet, she had reasons for at least some of her vileness. I enjoyed learning more about why she did what she did quite a bit.
Thinking of the book as a whole, it was a fun read. It was made me laugh, had a good romance, and was filled to the brim with memorable characters. I’m not running off to buy the next book, but I am planning to read books two and three. They were entertaining and fun, and DeLeon’s writing ability leaves nothing to complain about. I look forward to getting the rest of the details about what’s going on in Mudbug, especially figuring out who really did kill Helena.
Would I recommend this book? I would, but it was more of a fun casual read than a serious favorite. It was a good book to relax with and have some fun with a whole cast of quirky characters.
Who would I recommend this book to? It’s not a hardcore mystery or romance book, and it’s not laugh out loud funny like some, but readers of all these genre’s will enjoy it. I wouldn’t recommend it to teens because of the sex scene, but that’s just my opinion.