Amanda M. Lee is a good contemporary writer. She understands how people talk and how families interact. It makes reading her books a pleasure – well, if you love real life, and snarky, sarcastic dialog. I do. I grew up in a household where we always put each other down. In the nicest way, of course. If you didn't have a sense of humor about yourself, you were out of luck.
Her latest book is called Grim Tidings, An Aisling Grimlock Mystery. Aisling Grimlock is a young woman who has entered the family business. She has tried working for other people, it didn't work out, so now she works for her father, Cormack Grimlock, a gruff, single dad who has raised his brood of fours sons and Aisling, his only daughter, since his wife died in the line of duty. What duty, you say? Why, she was a Grim Reaper. That's right, she collected souls to be sent onto whatever reward had been deemed appropriate, and her death has cast a pall over the family ever since.
Aisling lives with Jerry, a childhood friend who is in on the family secret and loves Aisling like a brother. He is supportive, funny, and infatuated with Aisling's brother, Aidan. The feelings are mutual, and their budding relationship irks Aisling, who feels Jerry is her friend.
Aisling's other brothers, Cillian, Redmond, and Braden, are all very protective of their little sister, much to her chagrin. She is well over twenty and feels she can take care of herself. She can, and in fact has shown on more than one occasion, that she is not above using her fists to prove it. But the boys still watch over her, and when she and Aidan are caught by a cop standing over a dead body, the family stands together. They have to keep the cops out of their business. But this cop won't leave them alone, especially Aisling, whose purple eyes and black hair streaked with white he finds strangely attractive. The body, it seems, has been murdered, and as the detective, Griffin Taylor, investigates it, his visits to Aisling's home begin to work on her, too. Well, he is hot, after all.
During a routine pickup at a nursing home, Aisling and Aidan are confronted by a large, cloaked being who steals the soul of the elderly person they have come to collect, and as Aisling gets thrown through a window, sustaining several injuries, this encounter is the first clue that something bad is going on in the city of Detroit. They soon discover that the being is a wraith, a soul-sucking demon. They then discover there are more than one, and must find who is controlling them and why they are Detroit.
Ms. Lee always populates her towns with colorful characters and this series is no exception. Madame Maxine, a “self-taught witch and part-time clairvoyant...,” Angelina, former girlfriend of Cillian and classmate of Aisling who tangles with Aisling on a barroom floor, and the various people whose souls must be collected as they argue their case, trying to prevent the inevitable are just a few. There are rules that must be followed, and the reapers have a vast knowledge of religions and rituals associated with death. It's a world I hadn't encountered before and won't mind visiting again. I look forward to the next Aisling Grimlock Mystery.
Grim Tidings is a paranormal mystery, new adult. I give it four stars based on Amazon's rating system.