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Saturday, August 4, 2012

115) Dying Echo by Judy Clemens

The Blurb :

It’s been years since Casey Maldonado visited her hometown, and the only reason she’s returning now is to get her brother Ricky out of jail, where he sits after being arrested for the brutal murder of Alicia McManus, his girlfriend of several months. Casey believes in her brother’s innocence, but proving that to the cops is a different thing altogether, especially since she has her own murder warrant to worry about. Perhaps even more frightening than the law is Casey’s confrontation with her personal demons – the home she shared with her late husband and son, the resentment of her mother, and even the presence of Eric, who wants to be more than just a friend.

As Casey and her ever-present companion Death investigate Alicia’s murder, it becomes clear she was not who she claimed to be, from her name to her non-existent past. Instead of a solid history, she left only questions when she died. Where did she come from? What secrets did she know? And, most importantly, who were the three people she spoke of when Death carried her away?

Casey must sort the truth from the elaborate fiction of Alicia’s life in order to clear Ricky’s name, but as she reveals the woman’s secrets Casey begins to see just how alike their lives appear. Is Casey destined to an existence as empty and dark as Alicia’s, or can she overcome the tragedy of her past and move forward into a life worth living?

My Thoughts :

The title of this book caught my eye and the blurb had me grabbing for it. I love a good mystery and if it has a paranormal element then I can't resist it! I was expecting something a little cozy but with a darker element to it. Not the same kind of action and humour as the Charley Davidson series but maybe something more along the lines of Victoria Laurie's work. What I got was something much more mystery and less cozy and with a paranormal presence that didn't really jump into action.

Before I continue with my review I think it is wise to point out that, unlike what I thought, this is not the first in a new series. There was no big flashing sign saying this was an already established series and the description didn't make be believe otherwise. So it annoyed me slightly when I realised that there was information I was missing. Some of the gaps were filled in eventually but it was clear that there was more. I had a look on Amazon and saw that Dying Echo is the fourth in the Grim Reaper Mysteries.

Now I hate joining a series in the middle of things but except for a couple of little details I managed, with the help of the authors writing style, to catch up on most what I had missed out on in the first three books. However I had no idea why Casey can see Death and communicate with him and I hadn't had the chance to see Casey and Eric build their history together. I also felt a little confused about how Casey has grown since the death of her family. She thinks about it so much and the plot calls for a lot of memories and confrontations (going back to the house they all lived in) but I had missed the two years it had take to get her there. This hindered my ability to bonding with the main character.

So aside from that? What can I say? Well I can tell you all that when I did go and check on Amazon I downloaded the first book in the series. Only about a quarter of the way through Dying Echo and I was willing to go back and see what happened. Actually I am extremely curious about what happened earlier. There was something about Casey that I made me want to get to know her more and I also want to desperately fill the gaps. I liked this book. It was more than interesting.

The author has a great concept with the Grim Reaper helping Casey. Death is actually pretty funny even if the story seems very somber. The mystery and plot is very well thought out and it wasn't one of those cases where you know who did it before all the characters figure it out. You actually figure it out with them. Oh and despite this being the fourth book and the little things I need to catch up on, this book nearly stands alone.

Although one thing bugged me more than missing the first three books. Casey goes back to the place she has lived all her life. She left because of an event that the whole town must have heard about. However nobody knows who she is! No one recognises her and everyone is surprised that she is the sister of the accused. When she introduces herself there are no 'Oh you are that sister' or 'I remember you from the papers'. It was very weird. Maybe there is a reason for this that I didn't catch but I can't understand why nobody would know her.

Anyway this review has ended up sounded a little mixed and quite negative in a few aspects. However I have to point out that I really did enjoy this. It was good enough for me to get a copy of the first book and I hardly put the book down all day. I liked it. I hope the next book has more Grim Reaper in it and I hope Death shows off some more of his skills and gets upset with more technology. It will be interesting to see what happens next with him and Casey as well as Casey with Eric.

Great read! Worth checking out or at least trying the first in the series! It was actually quite cheap on Kindle.

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