Time of Death
Other than being set in 1952, there really isn’t anything historical about Gary Madden’s debut novel, Time of Death. In fact, this novel is decidedly more paranormal mystery/fantasy than anything else. That said, Time of Death is still a rollicking good time and well worthy of a positive endorsement.
Melody Rush’s special gift of seeing the dead makes her life fairly unusual for someone who just works at a local shop in Pittsburgh. Feeling compelled to track down the murderer of a prostitute who has been haunting her, Mel ends up being knocked off a bridge by a gangster and then finds herself making a deal with Death; she will restore Death’s Mask to him by midnight of New Year’s Eve and he will not allow her to die. As the mystery deepens, Mel realizes that not recovering the Mask has dire implications for not just herself but all mankind, and she becomes determined to not only track down the Mask but also solve the murders taking place around her town. With just a bit of romance thrown in along the way, Mel comes to belatedly realize she may have gotten in over her head in several areas.
This short mystery is fun from the word go; Mel is a brash, smart young woman who isn’t afraid to take charge and face danger. I admit to being worried when talking cat Voe joined the mix, but letting go of my disdain for verbal animals enabled me to actually enjoy the interactions between feline and human. If this is the beginning of a series, I’ll be on board for more because Mel and her odd inclinations definitely kept me engaged from beginning to end.