Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Dead Man and the Restless Spirits by Lou Harper
Authors: Lou Harper
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Length: 166 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print
Denton Mills has a secret: he can see dead people. Or rather, how they died. It's quite a drag in a city like Chicago, teeming with the echoes of the no-longer living. Rather than whine about it, Denton has learned to live with his troublesome talent. His adaptability comes in handy when he meets his enigmatic new neighbor.
Bran Maurell catches Denton's eye right away, but unfortunately Mr. Tall, Dark, and Mysterious is as standoffish as he is alluring. However, after an unexpected introduction from Bran's cat brings the two men together, Denton discovers they have a mutual interest in the spirit world. Herbalist by day, Bran moonlights as a witch, performing house cleansings for a fee.
From Bran, Denton learns that his knack for interacting with the dead qualifies him as a necromancer. It makes good business sense for them to team up and rid Chicago of its pesky spirits one grateful client at a time. Amongst ghostly adventures the attraction between the men is impossible to ignore. They seem like perfect partners—unless Bran's not-so-little secret comes between them.
Warning: men loving men, ghosts with attitudes, and a portly feline with hidden talents.
Denton, our POV character here, first appeared in Spirit Sanguine, another of Lou Harper’s books that I enjoyed. Now he and his odd ability to see the death traces have their own set of stories.
The author’s favored format of interlinked shorter pieces in one volume is here, though I recommend they be read in order. We get to follow Denton and his new herb-growing, spirit-banishing neighbor on a series of adventures.
Denton’s fun: he has an irreverent take on life, which helps him deal with the constant surprises his ability provides. Imagine, let’s go get a coffee, whoops, someone had a heart attack on this spot six months ago. He’s a website designer by day, with Joy, his partner, foil, BFF, and occasional assistant. She has a small but entertaining role in the adventures. With her help, Denton lands an apartment sitting gig next door to the alluring but curmudgeonly Bran.
Bran has his secrets, which help explain his take on life. Here’s a guy who could definitely use a sense-of-humor adjustment, and how his bouncy, cheery mom raised such a dour man has to perplex her. Denton finds him attractive, and I hope as the series grows Bran can relax a little more under Denton’s attentions. He sends a lot of mixed signals that keep Denton off balance. He doesn’t want to admit to everything he is or can do, but once he understand what Denton is, he can help hone his new neighbor’s skills.
From haunted restaurants to possessed psychics and a tragic mystery, these two cope with paranormal events that incidentally provide Bran with a nice income. He’s good at what he does, and better with Denton for a partner. The external story arcs wrap up in their own sections, which makes the longer term character growth a little choppy, but it is moving steadily. Gabe, the slayer, and his partner Harvey the vampire from the Sanguine books make some important cameo appearances here.
The treatments of both the men and their adventures is done with a light hand and make for a quick and addicting read: I buzzed through this volume, the short Dead Man and the Lustful Spirit, and the latest in the series, Dean Man and the Army of Frogs, all in short order. More on those later.
These stories left me smiling, and Murry the cat is quite the personage. 4 marbles