I read an article the other day about how scientists at some ivy league school are proving that there is no such thing as ESP — extra sensory perception. What a let down. I mean talk about telling people there is no Santa Claus! As many as three out of four people in the States believe in some form of ESP–that’s more than the number who believe in their political parties right now, for sure. And the belief system keeps palm readers, psychics, and ghost hunters in business for the long haul. If the researchers prove too conclusively the lack of woo-woo in our lives, an entire industry could disappear–or at least remove to another plane of existence.
Is it any wonder, then, why I might have picked up High Crimes on the Magical Plane for a cozy mystery read? Author Kris Neri explores what happens when a fake psychic, Madame Samantha Brennan, meets up with the real deal in the guise of a FBI special agent, Annabelle Haggerty. The clash is exhilarating, funny, and well worth the hours spent between the pages of this delightful book.
Samantha Brennan hasn’t had a psychic moment in her entire twenty-eight and three-quarter years of living. Doesn’t believe in the stuff. But she loves the clothes you get to wear as a psychic, and this profession let’s a girl meet very interesting, and often high-powered people, like the ex-Vice President’s widow. Pretty cool, huh?
And it is while Samantha is on her way to meet with the widow, that an SUV full of clowns–real clowns in make-up, frizzy wigs, and big red noses–nearly run her down and mark a huge change in the psychic’s life. These clowns are no real funny men, but bad guys who have just kidnapped an L.A. honest-to-goodness movie star, Molly Claire, from the same apartment building where the VP widow lives.
Samantha relays her psychic vision of kidnapping for the benefit of the FBI. She doesn’t bother them with the detail that she found Ms. Claire’s empty apartment and a dead body inside, when she broke into that home to do a little cold calling on Ms. Claire. That’s when Annabelle Haggerty, a serious-minded FBI agent takes Samantha in hand and transfers her real visions to the con-artist’s brain. Oops!
And things get complicated from there. The search for the missing Molly Claire reveals a new and monumental assault on Los Angeles by gang members–make that ALL the gang members of all the gangs in the city of angels. Did I mention the monumental assault? And that Samantha is the middle of the stew? And Annabelle is heroically trying to find the movie star, and bring justice back to the city, all while trying to keep her special powers as a Celtic Queen under wraps?
The book kept me engaged right to the end. I hope you’ll take the chance to read this cozy and let me know what you think. Even if you don’t believe in magic.
ABOUT KRIS NERI
Kris came to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference in September, where she spoke on “Becoming a Clue Master–How to Plant Clues” in your mystery. I walked away from that lecture with whole new approaches to writing that I’ll be excited to try in future books. Then we met at the book sale, and I couldn’t resist picking up her book.
Kris has two book series, the Magical mysteries and the Tracy Eaton mysteries, and has published approximately 60 short stories. She has also been nominated for several writing awards including the Lefty, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity.
As this is Halloween month, you may want to pick up High Crimes on the Magical Plane — just to get in the spirit and all.