I am not lost…

July 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: READING THE DEAD by J.B. Cameron

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

It’s no real secret that paranormal and/or fantasy books are right up my alley. I love the concepts of ghosts, demons, angels, all of that. So even just at first glance, READING THE DEAD sounded like a book I’d enjoy.

Then I found out that Sarah Milton was an FBI profiler. And it was then I knew I had no choice anymore but to read the book.

I have a weakness for profiling and profilers. Spencer Reid is one of my biggest character crushes. Norman Jayden from the game Heavy Rain is easily my favorite character in said game. I’ve often said if I could go back, I’d double major in psychology. I absolutely love it.

Sarah grew up with an imaginary friend at her side: Anna Nigma. Thick as thieves, Anna and Sarah were inseparable–even to the detriment of Sarah’s public image. But when Sarah’s mother dies after a prolonged illness, Anna vanishes from Sarah’s life. Just when she needs comfort the most, Sarah is alone. She grows estranged from her father and tries to leave her schizophrenic-seeming childhood behind her.

In the process of tracking down a serial killer using the nom de plume of Raithe, Sarah has a very close encounter with death–and when she returns to this side of the veil…Anna has reappeared, just as she was the last time Sarah saw her. No matter how disconcerting it may be, the more she looks into it, Sarah’s link to Anna may be the key to unlocking the Raithe case.

I will admit, the first time I saw Anna’s name, I groaned pretty loudly. Awful play on words. Awful. The only reason I’ve let it slide in the long term is that it appears that Sarah gave Anna that name when she (Sarah) was a much younger child. (How a young child knows the word “enigma” I’m not sure, but I’m not bothered enough to care to fight.)

As the book went on, however, it became more and more charming. Sarah is a believable skeptic, even to the end. Anna…well, Anna is a young girl, and thus is annoying in the way girls of her age are. She got better (a bit) as we went on. Sarah’s coworkers on the force are all good fun, though we’re given details about them I don’t quite understand the relevance of–and not necessarily as throw-away lines. (I’m looking at you, Chelsea.)

It’s an enjoyable story. I genuinely wasn’t sure where we were headed in terms of a conclusion until very late on–and I both liked this and was disappointed by it. Sarah is a profiles, and yet we don’t really see her do much until the final 10% of the book. I would have much rather seen her come to it over time, put it together the pieces, and see the end coming a bit more. Not blatantly, but just more than a two page explanation right before the final confrontation.

There is clearly room for sequels, and in fact it appears one or more may already be out. Given the mysteries yet unsolved, READING has certainly whetted my appetite enough to seek out the others later.

Rating: **** (Recommended)

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