Dead and Kicking
Obsidian, Dec 2009, $6.99
In Seattle Sadie Novak owns Scene-2-Clean, a firm that cleans up crime scenes. She also is a medium who communicates with the dead. Her job is to help the deceased pass on by removing whatever makes then cling to the earth.
Most spirits she meets are not evil or even hostile, but Sadie and her lover-co-owner of the business Zack are cleaning out the apartment of his former girlfriend Paula’s mother when they run into a malevolent ghost who refuses to allow them to enter “his” room. Running out of the place Zack breaks a bone in his foot. A recovering addict, he is not supposed to take drugs, but he does anyway as he moves into Paula’s house to heal. Trying to forget Zack’s betrayal for the moment, Sadie throws herself into her work and soon finds a mummified baby in one of the boxes. .The remains could be part of a lot Paula’s mom bought at a yard sale or flea market or perhaps it something sinister that happened inside the house. Someone is trying to scare Sadie away; but that fails as she keeps cleaning and exploring while the threats turn increasingly violent.
This is an exciting paranormal amateur sleuth starring an audacious courageous psychic who does not fear mortal murders having met malevolent spirits. Sadie’s father recently died and though he cannot quite fully materialize she selfishly wants to spend quality time with him before he moves on. The whodunit is cleverly devised to keep the audience absorbed with several delightful solid and ephemeral subplots as Wendy Roberts provides another witty breezy Ghost Dusters Mystery (see The Remains of the Dead).