Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review: The Remains of the Dead by Wendy Roberts

This book, attracted my by its subtitle: the first of the 'ghost dusters' mysteries. I am a sucker for puns and clever concepts, and this novel's gimmick is the profession of protagonist Sadie Novack: she's a professional cleaner who specializes in cleaning up after crimes. Also, she sees dead people.

The tale begins with Our Intrepid Heroine and her crusty-but-softie-underneath partner cleaning a house following a murder-suicide which appears cut and dry. However, the dead wife appears to Sadie and implies her husband Did Not Do It, so Sadie starts poking around. From this point onward, it was a fairly straightforward 'poke around for clues, get into trouble, get out of trouble, poke around for more clues' kind of story, and there is nothing wrong with that, I guess. It kept me for the most part interested. It kept me reading. Sadie's backstory was nicely done, and her Big Issue gets just resolved enough to not be a central plot point forever, but it remains a little open-ended to allow for future exploration too. But Wendy Roberts is no Nora Roberts, and at times the book did feel a tiny bit formulaic. And there was a revelation in the epilogue that was just beyond ridiculous.

Still, it's a fairly solid read. She may get me for the sequel if the price is right, but I am expecting a little more next time.

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