*I received a free ARC of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: If a ghost appeared from nowhere and ordered you to start solving crimes, what would you do?
When a ghost shanghais Porter Norton, he just wants to put his head in his hands and have nothing to do with it. Then he discovers he has to atone for a family curse that has seen all the males die at their own hands for five generations.
The Gliss, the sarcastic spirit that rescues him, says he can now see and hear the dead – if he’s close to their remains. Porter has to use his unwelcome gift to clear up past injustices. Or else.
Forced to investigate the murder of a WW1 British Tommy executed for spying in 1917, he begins to suspect the case has links to his own family history. Along the way, Porter enlists the help of a bickering group of misfits, who struggle to stay involved – because everyone knows, only fools believe in the supernatural.
As Porter, The Gliss, and friends, get deeper into the explosive case, they discover their own lives and sanity are at stake. An evil from WW1 is pursuing them.
We meet Porter Norton as he is throwing himself a pity party, as everything in his life is falling apart. But for both Porter and the reader, his subsequent actions turn out to be just the start of things…
From the blurb, I was expecting this book to be a standard paranormal mystery book: amateur discovers they can see/talk to ghosts and embarks on a career/hobby of murder investigation.
This book though, this book stands out from the crowd!
Yes, there is mystery and murder, ghosts and psychic abilities. There is a deep, and often painful, exploration of trench conditions in WWI, and of suicidal thoughts and actions in the past and present day. There is also humour, resilience and comradery, and some lovely, witty asides.
The characterisation is wonderful. Porter feels like a cross between Bertie Wooster and Sir Peter Wimsey initially, but soon develops his own idiosyncratic personality and becomes a great main character. He shares that billing though, because it doesn’t take long for what I initially classed as ‘side character’ – The Gliss, Feng, Namita and Karin – to find their slots alongside Porter, with just as much interest and empathy generated by their exploits.
Dead and Talking is absolutely top notch paranormal mystery fiction, with plenty of depth and humour and a fascinating cast. Definitely one for my personal favourite pile, and I will be eagerly awaiting the next in what I hope will be a long-running series! Sorry Porter but I really think at least a hundred will be required…! 😉
The girl he had killed followed him around the kitchen with her yellow, accusing eyes. As usual. Stare all you want, Janine. Today I die too. Time for music, food and wine.
– Des Burkinshaw, Dead & Talking
Find more from Des Burkinshaw at his website here, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Dead & Talking is available on Amazon right now!
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