Review: The Remains of the Dead by Wendy Roberts (#1 A Ghost Duster Mystery series)

Review: The Remains of the Dead by Wendy Roberts (#1 A Ghost Duster Mystery series)Author: Wendy Roberts
Title: The Remains of the Dead
Series: Ghost Duster Mystery #1
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 288
Release Date: 2007
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
The first book in a new paranormal mystery series featuring Sadie Novak, a professional crime scene cleaner and amateur medium.

Sadie Novak's got the kind of job that kills cocktail chatter dead: she owns Scene-2-Clean a crime scene cleanup company. And if wiping up after murders weren't spooky enough, she can also see and talk to the ghosts of the victims...

When grieving relatives hire Sadie and her employee, ex-cop Zack Bowman, to clean up after the murder-suicide of Trudy and Grant Toth, Sadie figures she's bound to meet at least one chatty ghost. But Kent, the man Sadie first encounters at the scene, is very much alive--so much so, that Sadie soon finds herself agreeing to a date with him.

Then a real ghost shows up--the oddly silent spirit of Trudy, who seems determined to prove that her husband's innocence, and inspires Sadie to track down the real killer. But as she scours the crime scene, Sadie quickly realizes she's in way over her head, that Kent has a strange connection to the dead couple, and that someone wants her to give up the ghost...for good.
Format: Paperback
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four-half-stars

The Remains of the Dead (2007, Obsidian) is a great ghost & psychic story.

The backstory is: Sadie’s brother had killed himself and she had been the one to clean up afterward. She decided she didn’t want other family members to have to go through that, so she opened her own bio-recovery business that cleans up after people who die. While working these jobs, she was contacted by spirits who were still bound to our world.

By the beginning of the book, she’s adapted to her ability and is happy to help these individuals pass on. The newest spirit to contact her, a victim of a murder-suicide, is not willing to go. She’s adamant her husband did not kill her. Sadie meets Kurt, the suicide-victim’s best friend, and he woos her. She’s attracted to him, but she suspects he, not his best friend, killed the couple. Her suspicions grow after she’s framed for stealing a family heirloom, shot at, and has her tires slashed (not really in that order). A medium and her cleaning employee help her stay out of harm’s way and try to figure out who wants to hurt her.

The mystery really isn’t much of a mystery–I had it figured out very early on–but it was still a very enjoyable read. Roberts is a talented writer. She mixes in some interesting sub-plots and does a great job with characterization.

I like that she added a cute pet, Hairy the bunny, into the story, but a few of her details about him didn’t seem accurate. For example, her house alarm goes off. Hairy is just hopping around normally. Most rabbit owners know that loud noises freak rabbits out. They can even give them heart attacks. A screeching house alarm would have terrorized a rabbit. His little heart would have been beating out of his chest. He would have probably been shaking. At the very least, he would have run away and hid. That’s just one of those little details that didn’t seem right to me. However, I can overlook that since the book was fun, interesting, educational, and generally a good read.

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