Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Mystery)

Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Mystery)

4.6 10
by Lyla Payne

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A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps's failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she's…  See more details below


A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps's failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she's having a heck of time convincing the town's dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected-being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new "I don't give a crap" attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny's problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn't move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.

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CreateSpace Publishing
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5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.78(d)

Meet the Author

I've long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I've published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn't wait to try something new - and I'm hooked. In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we'd all love to meet in real life.

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Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Ghost Story) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
AshleeT More than 1 year ago
This was the first in a series and recommended by a didn't disappoint. It travels through from being heartbreaking to funny with a little romance in between. It is a journey of self discovery, acceptance, letting go of the past....and learning how to deal with ghosts.
CrystalMarie218 More than 1 year ago
I don’t read a lot of books that are described as “ghost” stories. It’s just not something that usually interests me. But, I have decided to diversify my reading a bit and when I saw this book, I thought I’d give it a shot. I was glad I did, because what I got was so much more than a ghost story. Graciela is having a bit of a quarter century crisis. At 25 she has moved back to the small down where she spent summers as child in order to care for her grandfather and leave behind a broken engagement. Yeah, life isn’t exactly peachy for ol’ Graciela. Not to mention the townsfolk have seemed to already made up their minds about her and her habits. The only one who hasn’t shunned her is the town’s handsome mayor, who keeps popping up in strange circumstances. When a pirate ghost is added to the mix, Graciela is sure she’s lost it. This ghost is trying to communicate something to her, and when she figures it out, it’s something that just might get her killed. This really wasn’t a typical paranormal story for me at all. It was written in such a way that it all seemed like it could actually happen. The way the author grounded the story in a place and with the people really made it a story that captured your attention and didn’t go too far off the ghost story deep end. I really liked that. I also really liked how the way the author presented the setting almost made it like another character in the story. I think that is key to really investing you in a story that has a paranormal lean to it. I felt like the town had its own secrets to be revealed. Great job there. Overall, I just really enjoyed this book. It’s not your everyday read and for .99, I don’t think you can go wrong in buying and enjoying it. It’s a book that I know I’ll keep in my library and probably end up reading again. 4.5 stars. Reviewed by Sara Squared for Crystal’s Many Reviewers *Copy Provided for review*
Andrettas More than 1 year ago
So while this has Ghost in the title, it is not specifically a ghost story, yes there is a ghost in it, but the real story is about how Gracie who is heartbroken by an ex comes back to her roots to start over and get her bearings. I mean who doesn’t want to go back to a small home town when you feel you have nothing left. It is also a love story between Gracie and a leading man in her home town. Yeah I know I don’t give spoilers so if you want to know who the leading man is you are going to have to read it. Things I don’t like. I don’t like the whoa is me attitude at the beginning, I get that her heart is broken but COME ON, be strong woman. But once she does get strong and stands up on her own two feet I really start to enjoy Gracie the character. That is not to say that Lyla didn’t do a really good job creating Gracie and the other characters, because she does. Things I really like. Lyla makes you feel all of the emotions that the characters feel and you really start to feel like you are there with them as they live though the book. I am really interested in where she is planing on going with this series and if it will be a continuation of Gracie or completely different story lines.
MTSmith More than 1 year ago
Who doesn’t love a ghostly little tale? Normal people having their normal lives messed up by supernatural events and figures who should be resting in peace but aren’t? Come on. Doesn’t that sound awesome to read about? I had the sneaky feeling Graciela would’ve preferred to read about ghosts than encounter one. No one told Anne Bonny’s ghost that though. Now Graciela is a reluctant “friend” to the briny apparition and trying to find out how their lives are connected. This isn’t your typical ghostly romance. There isn’t falling in love with someone who’s been long dead. There isn’t anyone wishing they could be together forever. This is about a woman struggling to turn her world right-side up again; a woman who gets interrupted by a specter looking for and needing closure; a woman dealing with loss, heartache, uncertainty, and death. But along the way, she renews friendships, discovers hope, and begins a new relationship with an incredible man. If you love ghost stories, if you’re looking for a different kind of paranormal romance, this is the book for you. Graciela’s a terrific protagonist with strengths and weaknesses readers can relate to. I laughed, snorted, contemplated, and worried my way through this tale. And the ending? *grins* I can’t wait to see where that leads. ***Received from Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review***
donniedarkogirl More than 1 year ago
Not Quite Dead surprised me in many ways, all of them good. I connected with Graciela, Gracie, right away - she's snarky, spirited, and a loving, devoted granddaughter. She's come back to Heron Creek to take care of her grandpa, who isn't doing well health wise, and while she's nursing a broken heart with alcohol every night, I really didn't think she was over indulgent in her self pity. She handled her fiance cheating on her better than I would have handled it.  Thinking she will get a reprieve from heartbreak and totally awkward situations for a while, Gracie couldn't be more wrong. Barely back for twenty-four hours, she comes face to face with her first love who married her childhood best friend. Yikes! I was relieved, actually, that this wasn't going to be a story where a girl runs from her cheating fiance and finds the perfect place to let her broken heal perfectly. Not Quite Dead is realistic, which I appreciated - Gracie has a lot of history in Heron Creek, and because of that, there are unpleasant situations she must deal with here, too. The close relationship Gracie has with her grandpa warmed my heart and also brought tears with all of the little signs letting her know just how bad off he really is. I forgot several times that she only spent her summers in Heron Creek - with the love in her voice coming through loud and clear while reminiscing about spending time with her grandparents and going swimming with friends, I could tell how close her ties are to the town.  The young and handsome mayor had me laughing out loud with his banter with Gracie. He added humor which was a nice balance with the more serious topics addressed in this story, topics like cheating, depression, alcohol use, and domestic violence. There's a touch of romance, too, and I appreciated it wasn't the focus of the story but was happy it was there.  The mystery of whether Gracie is really seeing a ghost or if someone is trying to scare her away kept me glued to my Kindle. This book seemed so real it felt like everything in it could really happen. The voices of the characters, the way Payne paints scenes in her story, and the ease with which she draws you into the world she's created all lend the feeling of realness to Not Quite Dead. This was a great story to get lost in, and I'm looking forward to seeing where things go from here.     I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
I really liked Ms. Payne's writing style. There were quite a few lines that made me smile or even laugh out loud, and several that I read out loud to those around me. She even had me darn close to tears at one point, and a couple of other scenes had me literally on the edge of my seat. Gracie--once she gets past her initial "poor me" phase--is a likable heroine with a lot of snark. The secondary characters are nicely fleshed out, and we get just enough of everyone's past to make us become invested in their future. The ghost is deliciously creepy--I was almost hesitant to shut off the last light before going to bed last night after staying up late reading. I did shut it off of course, but the cottage we're renting does have some interesting shadows, not to mention strange noises... Anyway. I really enjoyed reading Not Quite Dead. The main parts of the story were wrapped up at the end--one bit was resolved a *touch* too neatly, but it wasn't glaringly so and it was satisfactorily handled, so I didn't mind it too much. There are a few threads left hanging that will presumably be addressed in a future book, giving the reader something to look forward to. There's nothing remotely cliffhanger-ish about the ending, but there is something that happens on the very last page that pretty much guarantees I'll be first in line for book two of the series. All in all, an entertaining read! Rating: 4 stars / A- I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I completely fell in love with Gracie! She's smart, independent, and someone I would love to be friends with. Her relationship with her grandfather reminds me of my relationship with mine. Whether he knows it or not, he always helps whatever situation I've gotten myself into. Going home was just what the doctor ordered. Ghosts have always been a fascination and having that aspect intertwined into the story, plus the fact she's a woman pirate....WIN!! To say I loved the book is an understatement. I was enraptured the moment I began reading and am excited for the next book!
tarheelbibliobabe_12 More than 1 year ago
This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. This book was such a unique NA book and I loved it. Ghosts and a cute Southern gentleman…count me in! Man, Gracie had some major sass in her. She was insanely independent and I can’t blame her. She’s caring but she puts up a strong front when she’s feeling particularly vulnerable. She needs someone that can read between her hard outer shell. Which brings me to… Beauregard Drayton. My lord, such a sexy Southern gentleman! He was a perfect match for our tough Gracie. He’s persistant when Gracie shuts him down but he sticks around like a champ. He always seems to know when she needs to be taken care of and he was a total sweetheart. Mel and Will were great friends to Gracie despite the past. Gramps was so awesome and tough and he loved Gracie so much! And Anne Bonny – the ghost – was a stellar addition to the story as well! As I said before, this was a really unique NA story. Gracie sees a ghost that just doesn’t seem to go away. I loved the historical tie in and also how the multiple storylines seems to flow seamlessly and come together perfectly in the end. The writing was full of snarkiness, as I love so much. The romance was definitely not the forefront of the story, which was totally okay. They were truly a perfect match. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, mostly to see where Gracie and Beau’s relationship goes! Favorite Swoon-worthy Quote: I crush my mouth against his, opening my lips for him, find his tongue hot and willing as it toys with mine. My hands grasp his neck, one sliding higher until it twists in his hair, the combined motion pulling his body tight against mine, pressing my back into the countertop before he lifts me up by my ass and my feet lock behind his back. A growl rumbles from his throat and he nips my bottom lip, diving back in for more. Rating: 4.5/5 Tar Heels!
Kristen_Noel More than 1 year ago
  I had never heard of Lyla Payne or read many "ghost" stories before I picked up this book. I can safely say that after reading Not Quite Dead, that I'll definitely be reading more of Lyla Payne's work. She has a beautiful way with words that draws you in and keeps you on your toes as you fly through the story she's telling. The setting of South Carolina really drew me in as a fan of Charleston and Savannah. I felt like I was Heron Creek with Graciela the entire time, and I loved it!    This book was filled with so much win. There were all these different elements that the author was able to tie together seamlessly. It made the story and characters relatable and enjoyable. The build of suspense over the course of the story was engaging, as well. I'll admit; I'm a huge wuss when it comes to scary things. Lyla Payne was able to handle the presence of the paranormal without shying me away from the story. I was left intrigued instead of frightened.    I know this is a ghost story, so I sound crazy. But this book feels authentic. The sayings that the characters use are ones that I've heard growing up in the south. Seeing "crap on a cracker" left me laughing uncontrollably and remembering whenever I heard my grandmother and her sisters say it whenever I was a child around them. The connection between Graciela and her Gramps had me in tears. I can relate to their relationship so much, and there were several moments during the book that I shed a tear over the beauty of it. There is even a smidgen of romance tucked in between the rest of the story, and I enjoyed it immensely.    If you grew up in the south and you like to reminiscence as you read, you will simply adore Not Quite Dead. If you didn't have the privilege of growing up south of the Mason Dixon line, read this and find out what you missed out on! This story was so beautiful, and I'm glad to have stumbled upon it. I cannot recommend it enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really, really enjoyed this book. It's obviously not like her Whitman University books, but that's okay!  We meet 25 year-old Graciela Harper, Gracie, and know that things aren't going so well for her. She's decided to become an alcoholic, and is off to a really good start. I know alcoholism is no laughing matter, but you are looking at it from her point of view. She's a mess. Life has handed her more than a few dropped her off in a grove, stole her sugar, and laughed in her face. She had a very messy breakup with her fiance, her grandfather's health is failing, and she moves back to where she grew up as child to take care of him. It's easy to see that she needs just as much taking care of as he does.  After she makes quite the impression on her first morning back in Heron Creek, she seems quite content to bury her head under the covers in her old bedroom while drinking her sorrows away. The town she grew up in has changed and it hasn't changed. Still haunting her memories and the town are her former best friend Mel, and her first love, and now Mel's husband, Will. She's also lost the cousin who was like a sister to her, Millie, due to a event several years earlier.. As children, the four were inseparable, but now nothing is as it was. To top off the awkwardness of seeing Mel and Will, Gracie is now seeing a ghost. Anne Bonny, 18th century pirate, is now showing up and having Gracie rethink her drinking plans. She doesn't know if the ghost is real, but Anne definitely wants something from Gracie. Thrown into the mix are a handsome mayor who won't take no for an answer, a grumpy new boss who may just be out to get Gracie, and an ailing grandfather she's not ready to lose.  I like ghost stories, and I like romances. This story reminded me a lot of Heather Graham books I've read, but it's still fresh and entertaining. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Anne Bonny, and why it was Gracie that was able to see her. I enjoyed the budding romance between Mayor Beau and Gracie. I enjoyed the fact that sometimes, you really can go home. Have I said enjoyed enough yet? I laughed, I cried, and I might have a crushes on Will and Beau, and maybe even Gramps. Not Quite Dead was a quick read, and I'm so happy I picked it up.  I hope you make a trip to Heron Creek soon. Author Lyla Payne says she writing book 2 as we speak. Can't wait!