Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hungry Ghosts-

Hungry Ghosts
Susan Dunlap
Counterpoint, July 2008, $25.00
ISBN: 9781582434179

When she was sixteen and living with her family in San Francisco, her older brother Mike walked out of the house never to be seen again. She returns to the City by the Bay years later to work as a stunt double and as an assistant to Zen teacher Leo Garson. Just as she is about to take a dive off a building, Darcy Lott notices on the rooftop of the Victorian opposite where she is a red haired man who from this distance looks like Mike.

A stunned Darcy describes the man to Leo; he informs her the man is her new landlord Eamon Lafferty who gave them rent free apartments for six months and decorated the place for a gala for high end clients. On the night of the reception celebrating the zen center’s opening, Darcy sees her long time friend Tia Dru, who is Eamon’s escort. The two pals find and old concealed tunnel and enter it though for Tia the journey is painful. Darcy goes to see Tia for lunch only to find her buddy vanished. In Leo’s room she finds Tia’s corpse. Obviously Leo is a person of interest to the police, but Darcy believes her employer is innocent. Not long afterward, Tia’s friend is found murdered in the tunnel. Darcy begins to put the puzzle pieces together going after a perpetrator about to escape with a deadly cargo.

The Darcy Lott mystery series is an exciting tale filled with complex characters some of whom wear masks to hide their deadly agendas. The heroine is an interesting lead character who courts danger like Winnie courts honey. Her need to identify the killer is obsessive yet readers will admire her courage and loyalty. Enhanced by the streets of San Francisco, HUNGRY GHOSTS is an enjoyable amateur sleuth high octane action thriller with plenty of Karma.

Harriet Klausner