Dying for Redemption
Review brought to you by OBS staff member Verushka
A Working Shadow Inc Novel
Two bullets in the back give PI Callous Demar an address change to Limbo, and life after death takes on a whole new meaning. Not wanting to indulge in his forced early retirement, Callous opens shop to help the recently murdered.
When a dame walks into his office, he thinks solving her murder will be a piece of cake, as his two prime suspects are the butler and the husband. He soon discovers the case is far more complicated than he suspected.
Callous finds his carefree attitude further challenged when he must also find the killer of his grandniece, whose murder might be tied to his own.
Calamar Louise Demar. It is a uncommon name to say the least, and the premise behind Dying for Redemption is no less. Calamar is a ghost, who just happens to be running a private investigation agency in limbo, and yes, the limbo where souls go when they can’t move on and have unfinished business. Callous, as he likes to be called, is the one who helps these souls move on by helping them solve their unfinished business.
His own unfinished business – who murdered him and he really doesn’t want to know who anymore – has kept him in limbo, and he is pretty comfortable where he is. The book begins with him on another case – a woman murdered in a car accident, with the butler and the husband as his prime suspects.
Callous, in the beginning, is hard to like, or rather hard to relate to. He died in the 1950s, and retains the sensibilities of that era which in some cases made me roll my eyes – especially his archaic dialogue and sensibilities. He is very difficult to relate to because of this, but what saves him is his loyalty to his family – which yes, they can see him – and his loyalty and love for those of his family still alive has not abated since his death.
We are introduced to his family via the death of his niece, Abigail – he doesn’t know her, but she’s family, and that’s what matters. Abigail and Callous share narrating duties in the book, with a chapter devoted to each – the dynamic is striking because we have Callous who has been dead and used to limbo for decades, while Abigail is struggling to come to terms with what has happened to her, to everything she’s left behind all the while attempting to get used to the new rules of her life.
I admit it, the premise of this book hooked me in, but its Abigail, and her relationship to Callous that makes the book and him better.
For much of the book, though they are separate, with cases that dovetail towards the end only. On one level, I can understand that, for it gives Abigail a chance to be established as a character on her own, but I missed her when Callous’ chapters came around – she makes him better.
All in all, this is a witty read for those readers who love noir and hard-boiled private detectives that happen to be ghosts.