Lil Potkin is a wannabe reporter, living in Peligan City, a city seething with corruption. She is not easily scared and hunts the streets, looking for a major scoop, but with little success, until she has a rather unsettling encounter with a young boy who has brought her a missing persons case: his! Every time she is around Nedly, she feels a chill in the air. She soon discovers the reason: Nedly is a ghost, having been murdered a year previously – and Lil is determined to bring the perpetrator to justice.
But I don’t want to be dead!
Lil’s investigation leads her to the local library Reading Room where she and Nedly pore over old newspapers until he finds his own missing person report. This also leads her to former detective, Abe Mandrel, who was hired to investigate the disappearance. Abe is a man who has been let down by life, who has given up, but he has not had the single-minded determination of Lil to contend with before. She wants to become Abe’s partner, and will not take no for an answer, and is not averse to a little well-intentioned subterfuge to help in her sleuthing.
This story has skilfully captured film noir vibes with its rain-soaked streets, dark undertones and neon streetlights, not to mention the shady characters and downtrodden former detective. This really adds to the darkly atmospheric feeling which permeates the story, and creates an incredible amount of tension as Lil, Nedly and Abe find themselves in more and more dangerous situations as they get closer and closer to finding Nedly’s killer, a killer who often seems to be one step ahead of them …
Lil is an amazing young girl. She is brave, resilient and tenacious in her drive to see justice done, no matter the cost. She is instrumental in forcing Abe to live up to his responsibilities, and in fighting against the corruption in Peligan City. The friendship between Lil and Nedly is beautifully portrayed as Lil quickly accepts Nedly into her life and helps him come to terms with what has happened to him whilst also showing her anger at the injustice of his death, and her determination to find the perpetrator.
This is a wonderfully tense and atmospheric story which was full of twists and turns, keeping me engrossed from start to finish.