Dead to Me by A. Strout

Dead to MeIt’s been a while since I wrote my last review (I think the last one was in October.)  I’ll go to write one and… nothing.  It’s not that I don’t read books that are good enough to write about, because plenty of the books that I’ve read between now and October have been pretty good actually. I just haven’t been compelled to write anything whether it was good or bad. That is until I read Dead to Me by Anton Strout.

Psychometry-the power to touch an object and divine information about its history-has meant a life of petty crime for Simon Canderous, but now he’s gone over to the good side. At New York’s underfunded and (mostly) secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs, he’s learning about red tape, office politics, and the basics of paranormal investigation. But it’s not the paperwork that has him breathless.

After Simon spills his coffee on (okay, through) the ghost of a beautiful woman- who doesn’t know she’s dead-he and his mentor plan to find her killers. But Simon’s not prepared for the nefarious plot that unfolds before him, involving politically correct cultists, a large wooden fish, a homicidal bookcase, and the forces of Darkness, which kind of have a crush on him.

Now to be fair, I had to write a review for this book. That’s part of the deal with being a book reviewer. We get free books, and in return we give our honest thoughts on it’s content. However, with Dead to Me I just felt pulled to share my thoughts. I really liked this one, and I feel like I need to get the review out so that people who come to Literary Escapism are aware of Dead to Me‘s awesomeness.

What made me like this book so much? The humor for one. I’m not going to say that it was the funniest thing I’ve ever read, but it certainly had enough dry, self-depreciating humor for a sarcastic gal such as myself to appreciate. It started straight out the gate when it’s made clear that Simon’s powers aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Being able to see a person’s past by touching personal objects sounds pretty cool, but more often than not it does make for really awkward situations. That’s more than highlighted multiple times in Dead to Me.

Awkward situations aside, I actually thought that Simon’s powers were nifty. The variety of ways that it can be used is impressive. The most obvious use being that the ability allows him to find antiques, buy them low, and sell them high. Often times he used his psychometry (the power to touch a object and divine) to find expensive antiques at yard sales and other such places. And before he started working for the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, he was a thief who used his power to steal more expensive pieces. In the beginning of Dead to Me, those are the only real ways that he knows to use his psychometry. However as the book progresses it becomes apparent that he isn’t using his power to it’s full potential, and I enjoyed learning about all the ways his power could be manipulated.

As for Simon himself, I found him to be a lovable hero. Sometimes when you read paranormal mystery such as this one, the protagonist is well established in what they do. With Simon it’s clear that he’s just starting his career. He doesn’t know everything there is to know about being an agent for the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, and more often than not, he makes mistakes that his more seasoned counterparts wouldn’t. Case in point; his viewing a ghost in a romantic light. Getting attached to a ghost is one thing, but he is also working on solving her murder. See? He’s kind of hapless sometimes, but with the guidance of his mentor, Connor, and a little luck he some how seems to get through everything better than he was before.

That brings me to the plot.  Between the humorous tone of Dead to Me and it’s fast pace, I had no trouble following and enjoying the story line. A big factor in determining if I’m going to enjoy a book or not is if I’m able to predict things that are going to happen.  When I can, it seems to negatively affect my  enjoyment. There was nothing to fear in reading Dead to Me however. The author managed to make it unpredictable while still making it’s seem plausible.  Well, as plausible as a paranormal mystery can be.

Overall,  Dead to Me by Anton Strout was a very enjoyable read, something that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anybody who enjoys a good mystery.  As for myself, I’m super excited to read the next in the Simon Canderous series. If this was anything to go off of then I’m sure there will be plenty for me to love.

Read Order:
Dead to Me
Deader Still
Dead Matter
Dead Waters

Also reviewed by: Paperback Dolls, Good Bad and the Unread, Seanan McGuire, Wayfaring Writer and Tez Says

1 Comment

  1. I read Dead to Me a few years ago, and from what I remember, I loved it too. Great review!

    And, I know what you mean about not being able to write. It took me a little over a month to write a review on a book that I absolutely loved. But every time I sat down to write the review, nothing happened. It sucks.

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