Melisande Dulac is just trying to build a life for herself after several disastrous wrong turns. Apprentice mortician might not be a job for everyone, but it’s a chance Melisande didn’t expect to get, and she’s determined to repay the faith shown in her. Only problem… well, there are a lot of problems, but a series of events which would seem to point the finger of blame squarely at her for a crime she doesn’t even understand leave her no choice. She has to try and figure out what’s really going on, and just why the bodies keep piling up… before she becomes one of them.
Mel’s relationship with her girlfriends, her love for quirky-pun mortician shirts, the way she can’t resist getting involved in the investigation and the way she talks to her brother Fitz (a ghostly presence in her own mind) all make her feel so real. She’d hit absolute rock bottom before ending up in Oregon, but she’s a fighter. Offered a chance, she seizes on with both hands and refuses to let go, even when things look hopeless.
I’m not sure if this is going to be the first in a series, but honestly, I’d really enjoy reading more about Melisande. She’s bisexual, which is something pretty rare to find in heroines in the mystery genre, and there were elements of her past which weren’t fully explored, like why she had a relationship with Helene but then ended up marrying Helene’s brother. And just what did happen to Mel’s husband, anyway? That particular mystery is never explained at all, which makes me think that could be a theme for a later book in the series.
With that said, the actual crimes in this book do get solved very satisfactorily, and very cleverly, with some twists I didn’t see coming at all until they were revealed. Yes, I wanted to read more about Melisande’s own personal dramas, but I don’t think the fact that some things were kept back detracted from this book at all. They made me want to go looking for a second book in the series, and if there was one available at the time of writing this review, you better believe I’d have bought it and read that one too. This grabbed me that much; I really loved it and I’ll be looking out for more of the author’s work. Five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.
- Hardcover: 1 pages
- Publisher: CROOKED LANE BOOKS (10 December 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1643852809
- ISBN-13: 978-1643852805
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.8 x 24.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 508 g
- Customer Reviews: 9 customer ratings