Review: Death Perception, by Victoria Laurie


The Gamble of a Lifetime

It took a while for Abby’s FBI agent boyfriend, Dutch Rivers, to accept her psychic gifts as the real deal. But these days he knows better than to question Abby’s visions. So when his cousin Chase is kidnapped after a bloody shoot-out in a Vegas alleyway, he agrees that her clairvoyant skills could be invaluable, and they both catch the next flight to Sin City.

Abby’s inner eye insists that Chase is still alive, but nothing else about the case adds up – especially Dutch’s reluctance to involve the FBI. On top of everything, Dutch is battling a mysterious illness, and Abby keeps having disturbing dreams that predict his death. Dutch wants Abby to promise that if the investigation goes south, she’ll head home to safety, but when the chips are down, Abby won’t fold without a fight.

Ms. Bookish’s Quick Take: Death Perception is a fun paranormal mystery. While the mystery itself is quite serious, the book veers toward the light-hearted side, which is a nice combination when you’re in the mood for a good mystery but you want something fun, too. I enjoy novels where the protagonist has a support network that she calls on; this is one such novel, and it made the read all the more fun for me. There were a few things I didn’t like, but these were minor and didn’t seriously affect my enjoyment of the novel. The solution offers a bit of a twist, and the mystery itself is complex enough to lead you through the book at a good speed.

The Full Review of Death Perception

This is not the first book in Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye series featuring Abby Cooper, but it’s the first one that I’ve read. By the end of Chapter One, I had a fair enough introduction to the two main characters, Abby and her boyfriend Dutch, to keep me interested in the upcoming mystery.

The story takes place in Las Vegas, where Dutch and Abby go to investigate the kidnapping of Dutch’s cousin Chase and the man for whom he was acting as a bodyguard. One of Abby’s talents is the ability to look at a picture of a person and see whether they are dead or alive. This is a talent that comes in pretty handily throughout the book. Fortunately, Chase is still alive.

And so the race to find him begins. There are many different angles to the mystery, making it complex enough for the read to be enjoyable. The writing is fun, and Abby is, for the most part, an engaging character.

There were a few things I found a little annoying. In the first part of the book, the author ends a few chapters with the “had I/we but known” device, which always drives me nuts. But once the story got into full swing, there weren’t any more “had I/we but known”‘s, so I could settle back into the mystery (what happens with me is that every time I read something like that, I am pulled right out of the book. Author intrusion, author intrusion! sounds in my head.)

I also was a bit confused about the feelings that Abby would get in either her right side or her left side, which alternated between light and airy and heavy and sinking. I thought I had it, that light and airy meant something good, but then at the end of one of the later chapters, in answer to another character’s comment that it was time to worry, I read this: “My right side felt light and airy, my sign for No kidding.” And I think that right side twinges were bad and left side twinges were good, but it was something I had difficulty keeping track of, so as a plot device it was kind of lost on me.

Finally, there is one pivotal scene in which Abby does something really and truly stupid, and for a while there I was thinking, “If she’s going to be like this I don’t think I’m going to like reading much more”. I like protagonists who are smart and action-oriented, not ones who react without much thought. It just didn’t feel to me like a realistic reaction on Abby’s part. But she later redeemed herself a bit by admitting that it was a seriously dumb thing that she did. Since that particular action on Abby’s part was necessary or there wouldn’t have been much of a story, it would have been better if the reasons had been more credible or if a different, more realistic way of moving the story forward had been used.

Other than these things, though, I found that once the story got going, and especially once Abby pulled in her support team, things became a lot of fun and I enjoyed myself immensely. From that point on, it was fast-moving and on the madcap side; the secondary characters made me laugh and the plot itself became more suspenseful. Lots of “save the day” things happened, but that was fine, because it was the kind of novel that in which you knew things like that would happen.

Overall, Death Perception is a great read when you’re looking for something on the lighter side, but you still want a serious mystery with its share of twists and turns. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: A-/B+: Good Read Plus ?

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