Reviewed by Gerry Fostaty
Geri Newell Gillen’s new crime novel, Quite Perfectly Dead takes us back and forth between Las Vegas and Montreal. In Montreal’s west end, Scottish ex-pat, ex-cop-turned-private-eye Joe Cameron lives an easygoing life. Much to his assistant’s annoyance, Joe isn’t terribly bothered about finding new cases to work on. A woman shows up, though, and hires him to look into her brother’s death in Las Vegas.
The Vegas cops have ruled it a suicide, but the sister isn’t buying their explanation. Cameron takes on the case, partly because he feels sorry for the sister, and partly because he’s an avid card player and figures he could combine a little recreation at the tables while he’s in Las Vegas. Once he get to Vegas, though, it all looks like the local police have gotten the suicide story right. So sensing it is all a waste of time, he flies home to give the girl the bad news. A second death under curiously similar circumstances is then discovered, and the Vegas police launch a new cross-border investigation, enlisting the help of Montreal’s finest.
In Joe Cameron, we are treated to a character whose outward relaxed appearance belies a hard-working, critical-thinker. Through numerous trips to his local bar, over pints of Guinness, and plates of fast food we get to know a detective who is relentless and probing. Cameron is no superhero and no saint. He likes a drink, eats too much, and has a weakness for cards and women. Cameron’s easy-going nature is chillingly juxtaposed to the heinous villain.
The premise of the book is entirely believable, and it held my interest throughout, moving at a great pace. I felt immersed in the characters’ lives, and although this is a mystery, the motion of the book is driven by the well-developed characters. A very enjoyable read, I found myself looking for excuses to get back to it whenever I had to put it down.
I look forward to much more from Geri Newell Gillen.
Quite Perfectly Dead is published by Deux Voiliers Publishing.