Book Review: TALKING TO THE DEAD by Harry Bingham

Despite having loads of fun photos to share from Bouchercon, and wanting to post about something mind-blowing and fantastical that happened to me over the weekend, I just haven’t had any time to write or upload any of it. For now, I’ll run the review below, which appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers last week and is republished here with permission. I’d also like to remind you that my giveaway of Jasper Fforde’s The Woman Who Died a Lot ends tonight so enter here if you’re interested in winning a copy.

Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham

Fiona Griffiths, the protagonist in Harry Bingham’s debut novel, Talking to the Dead, will likely be compared to a certain Swedish girl with a dragon tattoo, but she’s actually one of the most unusual characters to come along in crime fiction in recent memory. Despite a psychological condition that makes her feel disconnected from emotions, she’s a fiercely smart, highly efficient detective constable in Cardiff, Wales.

She starts out investigating a former cop accused of embezzlement, but soon becomes involved in the case of a prostitute killed, along with her six-year-old daughter, in a filthy squat house. A credit card belonging to a multimillionaire is also found at the scene. The problem? He’s been dead for months. Did the prostitute know the millionaire? Do the murders have anything to do with the embezzlement case?

It’s good news that this is the first in a series because Fi is an indomitable character whose mysterious past should provide fodder for a few more books. As she points out: “Fi. That’sif backward. Griffiths… two more ifs lurking at the heart of it. My name, literally, is as iffy as you can get.” Though she feels removed from those around her, the first-person narration and witty observations (though perhaps they’re not funny to her) make her accessible to readers. Furthermore, her supportive family is a welcome break from the cliché of heroes coming from broken homes. Fi isn’t damage-free, but she’s fully dimensional—and not iffy at all.

Nerd verdict: Dead sparks with a unique protagonist

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