I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam on October 22, 2014
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From National Bestselling author Jennifer Fischetto comes a hauntingly humorous new series...
Gianna Mancini has chatted with ghosts most of her life. It's never affected her much. Until now.
The latest ghost in Gianna's family-centric, boy-complicated, job-depleted world is Emma Tinsdale, a woman Gianna despises. Wanting Emma out of her apartment and her orbit, Gianna chooses to help her move on, but she doesn't expect to come across poisonous jam, a vengeful cop, or a group of friendly clowns.
When a relative is framed for Emma's death, Gianna must dig deeper and faster to find out what really happened that fatal night on the beach. With help from her sister, her cop brother, and her ex-boyfriend, Julian, she gets close to figuring out the truth. But when the killer closes in, Gianna better watch her step unless she wants to become the latest member of the dearly departed.
Today, Jennifer Fischetto, author of One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam is here to talk about creating the setting for this fun story. Read on to learn more about her process. Thanks for stopping by Brooke Blogs, Jennifer!
Setting is an important aspect of all stories. In the past, I’ve always created fictional towns. They’re a cross between places I’ve lived and what I think a town should be like, especially for each story. Like in my YA series, Disturbia Diaries, it’s very important that Hollow Ridge is an average suburban town that looks normal…but just happens to be filled with murder. 🙂
When I started writing the Dead by the Numbers series, it was different.
I grew up in a beach town called Long Beach. It’s on Long Island in New York. Our apartment building sat directly across the street from the boardwalk and a small playground. I was in elementary school when the park was built, and I remember sitting on my building’s front steps watching the workers construct it. I’m sure I was excited. Over the years, I always thought of that park as mine. Not that I was entitled to it, but that it was a piece of my childhood. It was and I still feel that way.
My best friend from second grade all the way through high school graduation lived on the other side of town. As a teenager, I walked home from her house many days. I can’t say I knew the whole town, but I knew a lot of it well. Of course my memory isn’t as fresh considering I haven’t lived there in almost three decades. But the memories I have are what made me want to set this series in Long Beach.
At first I considered making it as realistic as possible. I Googled about the town, visited the website and read article after article. I also Google Mapped it, and spent a lot of time on the street level maps. I found two of my old neighborhoods. (We lived in three different parts of the town throughout the eighteen years I lived there.) I saw the park, which looks totally different. Growing up it had the traditional “rides”. Swings, slide, a lookout/Spaceship, teeter-totters, that thing you lie on and spin around, and more. It was mainly for older kids with a couple of toddler activities. The slide was metal, and it the summer it would be hot as heck. You’d have to sit on something to not burn the backs of your legs. But according to Google Maps, it’s now for very small children. Baby swings with the bucket seats and the bar across, etc. I prefer my memory of the park.
My best friend still lives in the town. She loves it there. I’m in contact with other high school classmates thanks to Facebook. And my brother and sister-in-law still have family there, so they visit frequently. I thought I was set, but then I was reminded of Hurricane Sandy. She destroyed parts of Long Beach—ripped up large parts of the boardwalk and flooded so many homes and businesses. I was told that everything isn’t fully back to the way it had been. And unless I’m there to see it for myself, I’m not comfortable writing about it.
Gianna Mancini’s family in One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam owns a deli. Her parents, her brother, and her sister and brother-in-law own homes. Not to mention that people were going to die and suspects would need to be stalked, lol. I needed solid knowledge of my setting.
And that is how South Shore Beach was born.
Not the most original name, but it is a beach that’s on the south shore of the island. 🙂
And in this fictional version of my hometown, there’s the beach, the fabulous boardwalk, and even the park. My three favorite parts of my old town are parts of the first book. I’ve embellished some. All of the businesses are not real or based on any that are real. There’s still the East and West ends, and my memories of them, as well as the center of town. The street names have been modified some. But every time I write Gianna driving to the store or to Ma’s, I’m back in Long Beach.
I hope I wrote it with the respect and admiration it deserves. Especially the park.
One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto is the first book in a brand new paranormal/mystery series called Dead by the Numbers. I absolutely loved this book! Gianna moves back home after a break-up to the apartment above her parents’ deli. But Gianna isn’t just your every day, ordinary sandwich maker – she had a near-death experience in the freezer of the deli as a child, and was resuscitated. This has left her with the ability to see ghosts. The ghosts also use the back wall of the deli freezer as their portal to the next world.
Gianna’s sister, Izzie, is going through a rough patch with her husband, Paulie. She is convinced he is cheating on her. When Gianna and Izzie head out for drinks, they run into Gianna’s ex-boyfriend, Julian. They leave and head to a different bar, running into Paulie – who is caught in an interesting situation. They decide to drink some vodka on the beach and end up passing out. Izzie is soon the suspect of a murder. Gianna sees the ghost victim (who was caught in the predicament with Paulie) and tries to help figure out what happened to her in order to get Izzie off the hook.
This story was great. I really liked all the characters: Gianna, Izzie, Enzo (their brother), their Ma and Pops. All the secondary characters were entertaining as well, including the ghosts, Billy and Emma. I loved this twist on a mystery story. The paranormal element really took the story up a notch. I can see this being one of my favorite series, and I hope it goes on for a long time. The dialogue is great – Gianna is a spitfire and tends to have a sarcastic mouth that she just can’t wrangle in. There were several viable suspects that kept the mystery going until the end. I’m really interested to see where the series goes from here. I loved One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to my next adventure in South Shore Beach.