This is the debut book of fellow author Sue Tingey, who I first met in 2011 when I attended Fantasycon in Brighton. So I was thrilled when I heard last year that her book at been plucked out of the slush pile at Jo Fletcher books. And even more thrilled when I discovered her book at this year’s Fantasycon at Nottingham.
In a world filled with charlatans, Lucinda “Lucky” de Salle’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast, even as it has also made her a sought-after (if reluctant) investigator of paranormal phenomena. With no remaining family and very few friends, she has only one “person” she can rely on–Kayla, the ghost girl who has been her constant companion since she was born. When Lucky is called in to investigate a spectral disturbance at the all-girls school she attended as a child, she isn’t surprised. She herself had had a terrifying confrontation with the troubled spirits of two girls who died in the attic room. But when Lucky goes up to the attic, she discovers that the vicious little girls are the least of the problem–a demon has been released into this world, a creature of such malevolence that even the spirits of the two girls are afraid. When the demon demands that Kayla be handed over to him, Lucky realizes that this case will be like no other she has ever experienced. For one thing, it seems that her chatty, snarky spirit companion is not what she has always seemed to be…
This is great fun. I really like Lucky. Feisty, with plenty of edge – which she needs when being regularly ambushed by ghosts, Lucky is an entertaining first person narrator in this urban, supernatural fantasy. I enjoyed the way the book quickly shifts from the tense, opening scene into another direction entirely. I didn’t foresee where the story was headed and was able to relax into the book and just go with the flow – something I only do when in the hands of a competent author.
As well as the interesting plot development, the other memorable aspect of this book is Kayla. Lucky’s constant companion, Kayla is snarky, amusing and evidently fond of Lucky. Or is she? Tingey skilfully provides significant ambiguity surrounding Lucky’s friend – and as the story unfolds, we find why she has been so close to Lucky. I found Kayla and Lucky’s relationship fascinating and certainly am eager to discover how it progresses.
Because of where the story goes and my allergy to spoilers, once the books gets to a certain stage, I am somewhat hampered in discussing exactly what goes on. But I can confirm this is an enjoyable urban romp. And I’m very much looking forward to the sequel to see what happens next.