Charley's life as a PI, Grim Reaper and who knows what else becomes a little more complicated when sexy-bad-boy-love interest Reyes moves in next door making it that much harder to avoid him. And she’d like to do so since he may be the main suspect in an arson case that her uncle is pushing her to solve – and doesn’t believe she doesn’t know anything about.
Of course, it’s not the most pressing case to her, not when dozens of traumatised ghosts start populating her apartment making it difficult to move around. It’s impossible that this many dead women haven’t been noticed and she’s determined to find the truth – especially as the threat gets much closer to home.
This book had a nice, strong main plot that deeply involved Charley, her powers and gave her plenty of motivation to get into the thick of it. It was twisty, involved with lots of red herrings and false leads and interesting insight and Charley being her usual random self that it really worked.
It also managed to hit a balance I’ve seen before in this series but rarely elsewhere – both deeply and terribly tragic and painful in places yet also surprisingly light and funny. It works, it shouldn’t, but it does. Charley is a deeply silly often nonsensical and outright fun character breezing through life – but it’s a life that is inherently full of death and pain and tragedy. But that is her normal. So she can feel sad and empathetic for the dead while still being really annoyed that the ghosts are cluttering her apartment. She can sympathise over the brutal death of a serial killer victim while still managing to crack jokes, avoid therapy and drive Garrett up the wall.
It shouldn’t work as a balance – but it does. As does this really good murder mystery which manages to combine investigation with woo woo in a really good way. I also like how she works with law enforcement and not just her relatives. Charlie solves crime. She does it well. Almost too well. And that means she is actually liked by a lot of police who regard her as a valuable resource – I like that. I also like that it’s clear both they and her excellent friend Cookie also have skills so it’s not just a one Charlie resource
Which means I also like the growing metaplot of the police captain who would really like to know how Charlie does what she does.
I love the snark of this book. I love the banter of this book. I love the fun of this book. But… like the last book I find myself telling myself these things with juuuuust an edge of not quite believing it. It’s still immensely fun and the way that Charlie bounces off Cookie is just amazing and I love the pair of them utterly. But it’s just getting a little too forced, a little too convoluted and pushed a little too far. Again, much as I mentioned before, she will force jokes which used to be just a hilarious zany part of this amazingly good fun character and then she will take them far too far. Danger and Will Robinson, her breasts, were funny. Naming every other body part rapidly becomes old. Misery, her car, was amusing. Naming ever appliance and stick of furniture is not.
Let me be clear that it is STILL immensely amusing, still utterly hilarious and still made me laugh out loud on several occasions. There are few books that can make me do this and this series is always guaranteed to get a few chuckles. It’s contrived in places but in others it is just perfect.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is my loathing for Reyes. On the plus side, he didn’t add to his eternal death threats and abuse of Charley which made this book far more tolerable for me. Unfortunately, there still remains no real come back for the many terrible things he’s done in the past (and, yes he does save her life on a semi-regular business, but that doesn’t then give him ownership or the right to treat her the way he does). Their relationship moves closer which I’m in tow minds about – one the one hand I still think she should move away from him and never look back, on the other if they actually become a couple then maybe, just maybe, he will top keeping secrets and threatening her life. I live in very vain hope. I really do not understand why this man is a fan favourite