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Monday, December 04, 2006


***** Better Read Than Dead by Victoria Laurie. Mystery.









This is the 3rd story in the Psychic Eye series from author and professional psychic Victoria Laurie. I enjoyed the first two (#1 & #17), and the next two are in my TBR pile.

Abby Cooper is a professional psychic. She's looking forward to reuniting with her FBI boyfriend Dutch on Halloween after a two-month absence, but her friend and colleague Kendal asks her for a favor: he's contracted to read tarot cards for a wedding party and he needs another psychic to help out. She'd like to refuse, but she owes him big.

After a quick tutorial in tarot-card-reading (not Abby's specialty), she's doing fine, until she realizes that a) the man whose fortune she's reading is a hit man and b) the family of the happy couple is The Family--the mob. She feigns illness and she and Kendal leave, but the mob boss has heard of her accuracy, and insists on consulting with her.

Meanwhile, Dutch's ex-partner in the police force asks for Abby's help with a serial rapist.

Abby refuses the first and accedes to the second, but true to form, the mob boss won't let her refuse--she faces increasingly severe threats to her business, her dog, her home, and her life.

And on top of everything, her sister decides to visit, and her reunion dinner with Dutch turns into a threesome--with his attractive, female partner who makes no secret of the fact that she'll try to get Dutch into bed when they leave--immediately--on their next undercover assignment. Dutch, being male, is oblivious.

Abby being a psychic is a great door-opener, but it doesn't make the series. The wonderful writing does that. There isn't one mis-step in this book. Abby's gifts help her out, but only so far. She still has to use logic to interpret the psychic clues she gets, and she's not infallible. She sticks to her principles, but not to the point of being TSTL. She's hurt and angry with Dutch, but not to the point of overreacting. All the characters behave exactly as you'd expect them to in real life, and there are quite a few characters, all of them with distinct personalities, so that's quite a feat.

The mystery is intelligent as well, though the adventure plot, with Abby trying to stay one step ahead of the mob, overshadows it. There are several plot threads woven through the story, and none of them is given less than its due.

Being a romance reader, I have to mention how much I appreciate Dutch's character. He's worthy of Abby's affections, but he's also very human, very real. He screws up, gets defensive, doesn't know how he screwed up, figures it out, apologizes, grovels a little, etc. So much nicer than those too good to be true pretty boys. That said, though, the romantic interest thread of the plot is only a small portion.

Abby's relationship with her "perfect" sister is another example. Even in the smallish portion of the plot allotted to it, their relationship is clearly drawn, and Abby in particular ends up coming away with a better understanding of her sister and herself.

And to top it off, all the threads end up intertwining somewhere along the path--and not in an awkward, coincidental way.

I truly enjoyed this book, and I'm planning on digging those next two out of my TBR pile soon.

...more

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Comments:
The latest in the series, "Killer Insight" has been my favorite so far. I've been following Abby since the start of the series, and she just keeps getting better! I really think you'll like it.
 
Thanks for letting me know. Now to do something about the TBR pile so I can get to some of these books in a more timely manner.
 
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