Tortured Spirits, Gregory Lamberson (Medallion)

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Jake Helman, the NYPD homicide cop turned private investigator with an unwanted specialty in the supernatural and the horrific (see Personal Demons, 2009), is trying to save the soul of his best friend and former partner, Edgar Hopkins, who has been turned into a raven (see Desperate Souls, 2010). Problem is, the woman who put the curse on Edgar is dead, and only a blood relative can remove it. Jake finds the necessary relative, and she says she’ll do it, for a price: she wants Jake to go to Pavot Island (“the same size as Jamaica, on the opposite side of Cuba”) and spring her husband from political prison. The hitch: Pavot Island’s dictator is trading in heroin and cocaine, and he’s using the living dead to do the heavy lifting. Another deft mixture of private-eye and horror themes, and, as with Desperate Souls, Lamberson grounds the story in reality by focusing on Jake’s own personal journey into darkness as he struggles to save his best friend.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, October 2012.

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