Amy Rosenkoetter's Reviews > The Remains of the Dead

The Remains of the Dead by Wendy Roberts
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's review
Apr 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: ghost, series, psychic, mystery, paranormal, medical
Read in April, 2011

You may have figured out by now I'm a sucker for supernatural mysteries. I love them dearly and while they by no means comprise my entire reading list, they make for a great majority of it.

This is the first book in what is so far a trilogy, but I suspect there will be more.

Former teacher Sadie Novak has left the classroom in favor of the world of gory crime scenes. (Not much difference, you say? As a former 7th-grade girl, I hear ya. Kids live to draw blood.) Armed with disposable clothing, gloves, masks, and chemicals by the truckload, she and her employee Zack (of the awesome butt) remove the horror-movie gore of real-life crimes so the victims' families never have to see what no family member should ever see. Sadie knows this all too well because she shouldered the monumental task of cleaning up her brother's suicide some 5 years previously.

In addition to her mad cleaning skillz, Sadie has a gift that makes Zack a little uncomfortable - she can speak with the ghosts of the victims. It's apparently become her job to help them move on to the next world which gives her a lot of peace, except for the irony that the one type of victim she cannot see is the one she most wishes to see - suicides, like her brother.

All is going well with Sadie's ghost dismissal sideline until the day she encounters the scene of a grisly spousal murder-suicide only to learn from the wife's ghost that her dead husband did not kill her. Various events conspire to provide Sadie with some suspicions and conjectures, but little evidence to support them.

The mystery itself is well done, if a little heavy-handed when dropping clues. A couple of them land with an almost audible "thunk." Other than that, the story is well drawn and has a few ingenious moments such as the manner in which Sadie avoids being the victim of a drive-by shooter.

Throughout the book, Sadie is being haunted in her own right by the nonexistent specter of her brother Brian and by her sister's fiance who looks just like Brian. She does find closure by the end of the book, and a peace with her sister, both of which are really satisfying to me. There's also a really neat twist in her relationship with her best friend that caught me completely by surprise.

All in all, a few good new characters, and some I'd like to see more of.
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