*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the authors and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Some bodies just won’t stay buried.
When a client tells Sam Applewhite she’s seen ghosts in the nearby graveyard, Sam dismisses it as the ramblings of an old woman. She’s got bigger things to worry about — Keeping on top of her job at DefCon4 Security Services isn’t easy – particularly since her manager is a cactus and no one will tell her what her job actually is.
But when the ghost-spotting client goes missing and only Sam suspects foul play, she is compelled to dig deeper.
Aided by her retired stage magician father and the owner of the most outlandish junk shop on the sea front, Sam dives into a mystery involving psychotic seals, unexploded air force munitions, DIY foot surgery and a corpse that just won’t quit.
Sealfinger is the first in the Sam Applewhite series and it is absolutely superb, top-class, comedic mystery fiction.
Sam works for a security firm that consists of an app and a cactus, and is attempting to declutter her ex-magician father’s house of magic tricks whilst simultaneously completing a series of random work assignments which somehow end up involving more live animals and breaking-and-entering than you would usually expect from the average day job. Then, one of her clients goes unexpectedly missing under suspicious circumstances and Sam just can’t help herself…
There is not just Sam and her friends and family, though. We also get chapters from the point of view of poor, hapless Jimmy as he bumbles around from one disaster to another, spiralling into deeper and darker waters with every cover-up attempt and bodged dodgy job.
The characters here are so real that you feel you know them after just a few pages, despite the frankly surreal and ridiculous circumstances they seem to perpetually stumble into. The plot displays the kind of organised chaos that is usually tagged with terms like ‘romp’ and ‘caper’ (think of the classic, manic humour of John Cleese in vehicles like Clockwise or Fawlty Towers), built around the structure of a crime thriller in which the readers know whodunnit, how and why, but are hooked by the desperate need to know what happens next.
And that is exactly the position I was in on finishing the book too. Not that the conclusion wasn’t satisfactory – it definitely was – but I hadn’t had my fill of Sam and her life of surreal seal encounters, unfortunately named knock-off dolls and bearded mannequins. Luckily for me, there is more! I will be bringing you my reviews of Doggerland and Sandraker over the next few weeks and I honestly cannot wait.
In fact, I’m so excited that I have (personally and with my very own money) gone straight out to also purchase Clovenhoof and Oddjobs as well, which are both by the same authors and both Book 1 of their respective series. When a writing team are this talented and their books are this entertaining, it would be silly not to, really!
Sam felt a puzzling sense of prescience come over her and she didn’t know what to do with it. An empty home, a damaged mannequin, and a distinctive footprint. And, elsewhere, a training shoe found at the bottom of an alligator pool with a tread she was certain would match this. There was no meaningful link between any of them and yet, with a certainty built on no foundations at all, she was suddenly convinced something untoward had occurred.– Heide Goody & Iain Grant, Sealfinger
“I think something bad has happened to Mrs Skipworth,” she said.
“Like what?” said Delia.
Sam took a photograph of the footprint in the muck and shook her head. “I don’t know, but I think it’s something very bad indeed.”
Sealfinger is available on Amazon right now!
Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below for details) for more great content and reviews, including MORE reviews from yours truly on 6th and 13th July!