Friday, January 8, 2016

"Hungry Ghosts" by Peggy Blair

When the ghost of a woman appears alongside Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, he knows that it won’t be long before a woman turns up dead in Havana.  And while he is investigating a case of vandalism in the art world, a prostitute is found murdered, with nylons wrapped around her neck.  The nylons connect this case to Ramirez’s only cold case and now he fears he has a serial killer on his hands.

Detective Charlie Pike is investigating a murder on a First Nation reserve in Northern Ontario, and people are worried that this body is another victim of the Highway Strangler.  This woman too has a pair of nylons tied around her neck.

It is a race against the clock for both officers to find their killer before it strikes again.  With the Cuban government trying to silence Inspector Ramirez and Detective Pike having to navigate the delicate relations between the First Nations and the Canadian forces, the pressure mounts for these two to track an international serial killer.

Hungry Ghosts, by Peggy Blair, is the third book in her Inspector Ramirez series, a series that continues to keep readers on the edge of their seat.

I am addicted to this series.  Blair takes all the necessary elements of a good mystery and just keeps adding to them, creating a rich and layered story.  One would say that too many elements spoil the story but Blair has found the perfect recipe.  First you start with Cuba, where Blair shows us what the country is like away from the resort.  She shows the difficulties of daily life for Cubans and the roadblocks the police department faces while investigating crimes.  Then you have Inspector Ramirez and his ability to see the ghosts of the people of whose murders he is investigating.  In this novel we learn about the art world, politics in Cuba, and relations between Cuba and America.

Add to this the Canadian side of the stories, where we read about life on the First Nation territories, they way their lands have been decimated and how they are fighting against it, and about the frail relationship between the First Nations people and the Canadian government.  And amidst all of this, there is a killer (or killers) to track down.  It is all just incredible.  Before I read the book, I wondered just how Blair would connect the stories in Cuba and in Canada without it becoming a bit silly.  I didn’t need to worry about that at all.  

When I rated the first two novels in this series, I gave them both five stars.  This novel I gave four stars. My reason for that is I felt that there were parts of the book where the story slowed down a bit for me and in comparing it to the first two, it was just a bit of a difference reading experience for me.  Really though, my rating would be 4.5 stars.  


If you have not read a book from this series, I highly recommend you pick it up, starting with The Beggar’s Opera and following with The Poisoned Pawn and Hungry Ghosts.  Especially if you are a mystery fan and moreso if you aren’t. This is a series that will have you reconsidering the genre.  

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