Lucy Banks, The Case of the Deadly Doppelgänger (Amberjack 978-1-944995-47-8, $14.99, 328pp, tp) February 2018.
A woman wakes in the night to see a copy of herself and die – and all her husband vaguely remembers in the morning is “She’s been fetched.” Turns out she’s not the only victim and, even as the officials publicly play down any supernatural elements, they’re looking for help. This is the second book in the Dr. Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural series, which reminds me pleasantly of Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co., only aimed at an older audience. The agency is desperate enough for paying work that they agree to work on the case with Dr. Ribero’s biggest rival, the pompous Larry Higgins and his team. The main focal character, Dr. Ribero’s illegitimate son Kester, is a scholarly type still not comfortable with his new role as part of the team, particularly since he has yet to control his power to open doors to the spirit realm. So he throws himself into researching the case, and does a lot of the real investigating, questioning some intriguingly odd characters in the off-season beach town where the deaths occurred. The investigation comes off as rather slipshod (the fact that the supernatural experts don’t immediately catch the term “fetch” was bothersome) and oddly drawn out, but still involving. At points this feels more like a mystery than a ghost-hunting thriller, with eccentric characters to interview, friction between investigating teams, and plenty of banter, but definite supernatural elements keep things spooky, culminating in a couple of gripping confrontations towards the end.
Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.
This review and more like it in the July 2018 issue of Locus.
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