by Cherie Priest
Series: Booking Agents #1
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Meet Leda Foley: devoted friend, struggling travel agent, and inconsistent psychic. Impulsively re-booking Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt’s flight, she has no idea that her life is about to change in ways she could have never foretold.
When his original plane blows up on the runway, Grady begins to suspect that Leda’s special abilities could help him with a cold case he just can’t crack. Despite her scattershot premonitions, she agrees to join the investigation for a secret reason: her fiancé’s murder remains unsolved.
Leda’s psychic abilities couldn’t help that sad case, but she’s been honing her skills and drawing a crowd at her favorite bar’s open-mic nights, where she performs her klairvoyant karaoke—singing whatever song comes to mind when she holds people’s personal effects. Now joined by a ragtag group of bar patrons and pals, Leda and Grady set out to catch a killer—and learn how the two cases that haunt them have more in common than they ever suspected.
Ever have the feeling that you’ve read something recently, forgot to write down anything about it, and can’t remember what the book was? Me, with this book. I only read it 10 days ago and completely forgot everything about it, including its title.
BUT, once I chased it down, it all came flooding back, so let’s place the blame on a synaptic failure, rather than the story. Because the story is memorable, although perhaps not for the right reasons.
It’s not a bad story – it is, in fact, a really good one, with an interesting blend of amateur detective and police procedural. I liked the psychic element too, especially since the MC is the first person to stand up and say ‘Yes! I have visions, but they’re often meaningless and almost always unreliable.’
Where it floundered for me was the characterisations. The police detective (my inability to remember names is an across-the-board life failure), is solid, well thought out, real. I liked him. The rest … are a work in progress. I hope. Especially the MC, whose maturity level I’d put somewhere just above toddler and a bit below pre-teen. Ok, that’s harsh. She’s solidly in the pre-teen/adolescent range. No sense of responsibility, no sense of self, very reactionary, and overly prone to just default to her neighborhood bar and drink to excess. Totally floundering. I’m not sure her BFF is any better, or maybe she just had less time on the page.
There is hope though; she takes the investigation seriously and the author effectively communicates the MC’s desire to grow up and let go of the tragedy that compelled her to agree to helping the detective in the first place.
So, while I’m making this sound terrible, it’s really not, and I definitely want to read the second book. If the MC is still immature by the end of that one, I’ll bow out of the series, but it has a lot going for it, and I’m willing to allow for ongoing character growth.