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DEVIL MAY RIDE
By Wendy Roberts
Obsidian, 2008 ($6.99)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Have you ever wondered who cleans up gruesome crime scenes and other places where people have died of natural or unnatural causes, leaving behind material the average Merry Maid wouldnít touch? There is an industry that deals with that very problem, and Sadie Novakís Scene-2-Clean is one of the best in Seattle. Sadie got into the business after having to clean up the decomposing body of her own brother, Brian, a suicide victim. She didnít want anyone else to have to go through such a terrible ordeal with a loved one. She can handle the blood and guts part with detachment, but a funny thing happened to her after her brother died -- she began to see ghosts, those who need some help crossing to the other side, and some who have their own, evil, agenda. Think of Melinda Gordon with a haz-mat suit and heavy-duty cleaning supplies.
The county is doing a major crackdown on meth labs, and there arenít enough people to handle the specialized methods of cleaning up volatile and potentially lethal chemicals. As a favor to someone who she owes big time, Sadie and her crew -- Zack, an ex-cop and one-time lover, and Jackie, who has an attitude and a yen for Zack, take on some of the meth lab jobs. One problem with cleaning up and shutting down these labs is that the people whoíve been running them may object, violently, especially if thereís a fortune hidden in the walls. Pretty soon, Sadieís on the run from some big, bad bikers. As if thatís not bad enough, sheíd stumbled across signs of devil worship at one of the sites, setting ghosts with glowing red eyes and live worshippers of the dark arts on her trail too. Add her motherís nagging about when sheís going to plan her very pregnant sisterís baby shower, some strange goings-on at a bed and breakfast run by her almost-sister-in law, Brianís fiancťe, unwelcome attention from a hot TV news anchor, infuriating news about her sleazy ex-husband, and poor Sadieís just about ready to turn to drink.
This is the second in the Ghost Dusters Mystery series, following REMAINS OF THE DEAD. While Sadie makes some really dumb decisions -- if I saw a mob of bikers loitering in my driveway in the middle of the night, I do believe Iíd call 911 rather than my ex-boyfriend, for example, and if devil worshippers were looking for an infant sacrifice to replace the one Iíd deprived them of, I think Iíd get any pregnant women I knew out of harmís way, but thatís just me. Sadie is likable, flaws and all, the plot is well-done, and her career is unique, with just enough detail to be interesting without totally grossing the reader out.
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