Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars
Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 9 hours, 18 minutes
Wesley Cooper is not exactly dead, but he can slip into the otherplane and become a ghost at will. He’s put that talent to use and hires himself out as a recovery specialist—essentially a well-paid thief. But it’s on one such job that Wes sees a murder. And to make matters even worse, the murder’s shadow form is nothing like he’s ever seen.
Wes fails to act while the actress is being murdered, but he feels obligated to do something more to bring her killer to justice. Fortunately, his ex-boyfriend of 33 years ago just so happens to be a cop. A call to Hudson Rojas puts them back in each other’s lives, and though it’s not exactly a happy reunion, Wes agrees to help Hudson investigate the murder.
But the twist and turns keep coming, murders keep happening, and every time Wes and Hudson think they have a piece figured out, it gets more complex. Add to that Hudson is hiding something huge, and when his secret is revealed, it changes things. The closer Wes and Hudson get to solving the murders, the closer they get to each other. But just as things finally seem to work out between them, the truth is revealed, and Wes, Hudson, and their friends find they are pawns and just may lose their lives.
This book is the first in the Not Dead Yet series and is one that I’ve been meaning to pick up since it was released, but life got in the way. So when the audiobook came up for review, I grabbed it quickly. And I am so very glad I did. This book is my kind of book. Unique world building, interesting and engaging characters, snark and humor, all with a paranormal twist that Burke does exceedingly well.
I loved these characters, in particular Wes, who narrates the tale in first person. I loved how self aware he is. He knows he’s lucky, entitled, and selfish. And he doesn’t try to hide those things. But he’s also so much more than that; he’s loyal and loving, and he has a huge heart. He doesn’t always do the right thing, but he tries. And when he can make amends, or perhaps do something good in its place, he acts. I absolutely enjoyed him and the way he’s portrayed.
Hudson is stalwart and true, even if he has his own secrets. I admit to getting frustrated with him, but at the same time, I understood his motivations. Especially when everything came out. And seriously, the chemistry between these guys just leaps off the page. There’s no doubt they are meant to be, if they can just get out of their own way. In combination with all of that, there’s a diverse and well fleshed out case of secondary characters that really add to the story.
And not to mention the murder mystery we’ve got going on here. It’s not easy to do even in the best of circumstances, but Burke does a great job of piecing together all the seemingly disparate clues into one cohesive and believable mystery. I was just the tiniest bit surprised at who the ultimate bad guy was, and that’s a hard thing to achieve with me. More importantly, everything made sense, and I appreciated that most of all.
As I said, I listened to this one in audio and let me tell you, Boudreaux takes the story to the next level. He performs it to perfection. I listened to it pretty much nonstop because I just couldn’t get enough of it. Boudreaux’s narration is always top-notch, but here I heard extra nuances in the words and intonation that reminded me this book was set in Canada. It wasn’t all the time, which would have perhaps been overwhelming, but there was enough to give it the flavor of the region. Boudreaux also does an outstanding job with the character voices and really bringing each individual character to life. I very much enjoyed the narration on this one.
Basically, I totally dig this book and especially loved the narration. If you’re looking for a paranormal murder mystery that’s just a little bit different, definitely pick this one up.