Southern Bound

......a good and enjoyable read, and I've gone back to it a few times since. For a drama with ghosts, witches, second world war crimes, and fifteenth century cults, this book is surprisingly down to earth and gritty....

When Max’s mysterious new boss asks him not to move anything in the office, Max waits until he is alone to move the desk. The discovery an odd chalk drawing, and the ghost of Drummond, an irritated Private Investigator who has been stuck in the same room for years, who begs Max to help him leave and solve his murder. But Drummond’s death is linked to a string of others in the history and property records Max is investigating, and when his wife is threatened and he is attacked Max finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place. Max and his wife Sandra are running away from a dark past of their own. He can’t afford to lose this job but if he keeps it, it could cost his life.

For a drama with ghosts, witches, second world war crimes, and fifteenth century cults, this book is surprisingly down to earth and gritty. It stays that way by focusing on Max’s investigation, and although he is a ghost, Drummond has no mystical insights and can’t do much more than watch. There are several tense scenes but most of the actual violence comes out of nowhere and is unexpected, taking the reader as much by surprise as the characters. The plot twists and turns, and at a few points I found my suspension of disbelief a little strained, but it is a book about 5th century cults, ghosts and property investigation, so disbelief needed to be thrown out early on. Much of the humour actually comes from Drummond, who doesn’t see why being dead should stop him being largely than life.

I did find myself lacking a little sympathy for Max and Sandra at certain points. Max may not have done what he was accused of, but what he was really hiding – even from his wife – didn’t show him in a good light and he deliberately risked his job again despite knowing they had everything riding on it. The actual cause of Drummond’s death when it comes out, is one of the coldest motives I have ever seen in a book, and the author should be congratulated since my guesses weren’t even close.

Overall I have to say it was a good and enjoyable read, and I’ve gone back to it a few times since. Too gritty for a cozy mystery, too real for many urban paranormal readers, and with too many supernatural twists for procedural or mystery readers, I’m not sure exactly which readers to recommend it to. However it is a solid mystery with intriguing twists and no two-dimensional characters (not even the ghosts). Try the Look Inside, and if you enjoy it, you will probably like the book. If you enjoyed the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) with gangsters, near-drownings, etc., (not the Reeves & Mortimer version) then you may well enjoy this.

Rating: 4
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tirial (17 February 2016)
I made the mistake of reading Southern Bound and Southern Spirits back to back. They're by different authors, both good books, and it was a good evening, but I'm southern ghost-ed out right now.

jessica (18 February 2016)
Southern Spirits is a lot lighter-hearted, isn't it?:) Even with the poltergeist scenes in Southern Spirits, Southern Bound just felt grittier.

WilliamV (2 May 2016)
I l?v?d th? m?in id?? f?r th? st?ry. It h?s s? mu?h p?t?nti?l. ?ft?r l?sing his t???hing p?st, M?x P?rt?r, wh? ??uldn't b? m?r? ?rdin?ry if h? tri?d, h?d t? l??v? Mi?hig?n with his wif? ?nd ????pt ? w?ll-p?id, ?lb?it w?ird j?b ?ff?r in N?rth ??r?lin?. ?v?rything w?uld b? gr??t if his ?ffi?? w?r?n't h?unt?d by ? priv?t? inv?stig?t?r fr?m 1940s. Th? gh?st ?ff?rs s? mu?h t? th? st?ry. I lik? r??ding ?b?ut wit?h?s wh?th?r th?y ?r? g??d ?r b?d. Th? wit?h?s h?r? ?r? d?finit?ly n?t g??d. H?lps t? spi?? things up in th? st?ry. Th? pr?bl?m is th?t whil? th? p?t?nti?l ?f th? gr??t st?ry is th?r?, its ?x??uti?n didn't g? quit? th?t w?ll. M?x w?s b?rd?ring ?n in??mp?t?nt, th?r? is ? t?? ??nv?ni?nt ?bility his wif? sudd?nly r?v??ls, ?nd th? w?y th?y d??lt with th? pr?bl?m in th? ?nd w?s ?lm?st ??rt??nish.

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