If you are as tired of vampires and werewolves in urban fantasy and paranormal romance as I am, have I got a book for you! “Deadly Remains” by Katherine Bayless is a breath of fresh air.
Lire (pronounced ‘Lear’) is a ‘touch clairvoyant.’ That means she can read anything that she touches... rocks, tables, people.... She started a company, along with a ‘normal’ (Jack) to use her powers in a way that is constructive and allows her to interact with people (but not touch unless wearing gloves). She ‘reads’ antiques for their true provenance, etc. She also works with the police on occasion. This story, like many in the genre, takes place in the Pacific Northwest.
This book is very well-written. Lire is a well-rounded, three-dimensional character. As the book progresses, she firms up, fills in and becomes a very pleasing addition to the UF/PNR realm. She has her quirks -- She’s a caffeine freak. She has a ‘teddy bear’ named Red. She’s “well off” financially. In this first book, she gets called upon by a police department to help with a murder investigation. Our introduction to her is at the police station, in a room with Det. Vince Vanelli. Who really doesn’t like clairvoyants. Or anyone else with a gift. What happens from this point on is a wonderful dance of darkness and light. Lire and Vanelli carefully circling each other, and working their way through a very well-thought-out murder mystery.
Throughout this story we meet all kinds of magical and mystical creatures and people: Djinn are the most memorable. If you are actually looking for vampires and werewolves, you’ll have to make do with mention only, they are not a presence in this book.
The only problem I had with this book was the name of the detective. When I first saw it, all I could think of was (a) vanilla = baking cookies or (b) Milli Vanilli.... I got over it, but it took a little bit.
I am looking forward to more by Ms. Bayless. She has written a credible mystery, and has done so in a genre thick with vampires and were-creatures without using them. I’m going to be rather impatiently awaiting the next entry in what I hope is a lengthy series.