Dead Is Better - Jo Perry

“I was a failure as a living man. And so far I’m one massive fuck up at being dead”.

 

 

If you could see Charlie Stone, the first thing you’d probably notice are the bullet holes. Six of them. That’s how he ended up dead. One minute he was getting CPR, the next he woke up in a quiet, featureless place with a dog. What the hell….

 

But no one can see Charlie or Rose (as he’s named the dog). He has no recollection of why or where he was shot which quite frankly is ticking him off. He was just your typical middle aged businessman with 4 ex-wives. Right. He decides the best way to start his investigation is to attend his own funeral & see who shows up. Rose graciously agrees to be his plus-one.

 

It’s the beginning of one of the more off-the-wall, quirky crime novels you’ll read. As we hear Charlie’s story it’s soon apparent he was not the most dependable or likeable guy. His search heads off in directions he could never have imagined as he haunts police stations, hospitals & homeless shelters looking for answers. When he stumbles across some alarming information, Charlie has to wrestle with the possibility that it might not be all about him. That maybe he’s supposed to be helping someone else find their answers. Huh…what a concept.

 

Short chapters & economical prose keep the story moving. And just a heads-up…Charlie has a bit of a potty mouth. As for Rose, no worries. She doesn’t curse once. Silent & supportive, she accompanies Charlie on his journey & periodically nudges him in a different direction. There are plenty of surprises in store especially as we get Rose’s history. The ending may be a bit out there but hey this is fiction…fiction with ghosts! And by that time, there was one character I so badly wanted to see get what he karmically deserved that I didn’t care how it happened. Just as long as he went DOWN. And I’m confident all dog lovers will agree with me.

 

This is the beginning of a trilogy (so far). Although initially published elsewhere, it’s found a home with Fahrenheit Press which makes complete sense to me. By the end Charlie gets some answers & more importantly, is a slightly better man no doubt due to Rose’s influence.

 

It’s an offbeat, different take on the genre I enjoyed & I’ll be picking up book #2 to see what Charlie & Rose get up to next.