James Draygo used to be a police detective but now he’s a fairy dust addicted psychic just trying to get by. When a well-to-do client gets murdered in his parlour things start to get a little more interesting than Draygo likes and he soon finds himself being dragged through a whole range of complications in an effort to clear his name. Helping him actually put some effort into this are his erstwhile manservant Jinx, the freelance journalist Helen Saunders, and the smart-mouthed ghost of the aforementioned dead client.
In case you hadn’t guessed by now, this is a detective story with more than a suggestion of the supernatural to it, and a rollicking good read it is too. There’s a decent mix of humour and pathos, as well as the more typical elements of gritty hard-boiled fiction, and it’s all wrapped up in some damned fine prose. Laity keeps the action flowing, though there is the occasional moment where she repeats information we’ve already been given, but this is a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things.
I’d say the strongest element of this book is the interplay between the characters. The three main characters work really well together and exude personality, even Jinx who never speaks but manages to express himself in a number of different ways throughout. Then there’s the interaction between the main and secondary characters, which is just as meaningful and well written. I’m a big sucker for well written characters, and this book didn’t disappoint in the slightest.
All in all I really enjoyed this one, and would strongly recommend it to anyone who likes a genre-mashed hard-boiled detective story with a supernatural twist and plenty of snark. 4.5 stars out of 5.