Death’s door is open, as far as supernatural detective Tony Carson is concerned, and ghosts are flooding through it. Tony’s got her hands full, but she’s obsessed with why the prisoner from Holloway can’t rest. Luckily, her trusty drag queen spirit guide is always ready with advice and insults.
Tony’s girlfriend, Maya, is worried that the hot new acupuncturist at her clinic is driving their best friend, Jade, crazy, and not in a good way. Maya’s determination to find out why puts all their lives on the line.
Somewhere beneath the lies, voices, and delusions is the truth. But can Tony, Maya, and Jade come together in the final race to stay in the land of the living?
Worldbuilding: The London setting was nice, diverse (as one would expect), and the paranormal elements (ghosts, spirit guides) were fun but not overpowering. I’d say the main element was the contemporary one, not the paranormal.
Characters: The cast of characters was fun and interesting. I liked Tony, Maya and Jade. I can’t say I fell in love with either of them, but that might be due to the more-than-one POV thing – it usually has the unfortunate effect of making me feel detached from each of the characters rather than making me feel more emotionally invested in more than the one or two.
Each one of them was interesting in her own way, different types of people, had their issues in their past and each one dealt with them in their own way. I enjoyed that part very much, the personal issues & solving them part, but I felt each of them might have generated a stronger character were it the sole focus. Subjective opinion, of course.
I also enjoyed the Tony/Maya relationship, it felt very authentic, again with realistic issues and ways of trying to get over them, and surprisingly enough I enjoyed this tangent even though I generally only enjoy the “honeymoon” part of a romance (yes, I know, very telling of my own issues, haha, shut up! 😛 ). There was very little one on one time, so if you’re looking for the smex-licious kind of read, this isn’t it. I’m not saying it should have been, mind you, just pointing out the romance tangent is secondary and it doesn’t focus on sex (though it does happen, it’s mostly not on the page) but on issue-solving.
Something I personally enjoyed a lot was how some characters were snarky, irreverent and sometimes down right rude – say Deirdre, for instance -, without them being “reformed” at any point. I like that in my reads. All-polite, all-proper, all-PC isn’t realistic, so it bugs me if/when I encounter it in reads. I love nuanced characters, and he occasional asshole/SOB has to make an appearance, as they do in real life, lol.
Plot: The mystery part was interesting, I liked the cases Tony & co investigated, the way the stories came together – that includes the romantic tangents for Tony & Maya, and also Jade’s. There was enough action to keep me excited and enough twists and turns to keep me wondering, though the final thrill (the Suni related part near the ending, I won’t give details so I won’t spoil your read) didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat for some reason, though it should have.
Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, mostly from two POVs (Tony and Maya) but also including a few other POV inserts (like Jade, for instance). I liked the voices of the main characters.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my mystery/suspense/thriller cravings.
I’d love to read the first Supernatural Detective novel that gave the series its name. (For some weird reason, one novel appears on a nicely filled out Crin Claxton profile, while the second doesn’t, and they don’t show as part of a series either. It’s confusing if you like to get your book info from Goodreads, like I do, and like lots of others do as well. But meh, it happens. I do hope it will be resolved to show the series properly and assigned to the informative author profile up there.)
That’s where Tony is introduced and her private investigator career involving ghosts begins, but I read Death’s Doorway without reading the first and had no trouble, so I say you can safely read it as a standalone too. But I do recommend trying to read them in order, it generally helps with series involving the same main characters 😀
All in all, this was a fun read, with interesting characters and an intriguing story. It was more of a 3.5 butterflies read, for subjective reasons. I recommend it to lovers of diversity, paranormal mysteries that involve ghosts and private investigators, and romantic stories with realistic issues.