THE DEAD CAN TALK – WE JUST NEED TO LISTEN . . .
Camden mortuary assistant Cassie Raven has pretty much seen it all. But this is the first time she’s come face to face with someone she knew on the slab. Someone she cared about.
Geraldine Edwards, the teacher responsible for her returning to education after she got ensnared in a life of drugs. The woman who acted as a second mother to the orphaned Cassie.
Deeply intuitive and convinced that she can pick up the last thoughts of the dead, Cassie senses that there must be more to the ruling of an accidental death. With Mrs E.’s evasive son demanding the release of his mother’s body, Cassie knows that time is running out to find answers. Is her grief making her see things that aren’t there? Or is her intuition right, and there’s something more sinister to Mrs E’s death than the ME thinks? Harbouring an innate distrust of the police, Cassie sets out to investigate the death and deliver justice for the woman who saved her life.
I’m going to sound a klaxon and announce a new crime duo have landed and that they were amazingly original and extremely good. Turner gave us Cassie Raven and Phyilda Flyte two women not without pasts and flaws but full of grit and determination.
Cassie was wonderful and I absolutely loved her. A brash goth mortuary assistant with a fascination for the bodies of the dead and an uncanny knack of hearing the dead talk. I loved her tattoos, her piercings, her intelligence and most of all her compassion for those who could no longer fight for themselves and her need to seek justice.
Flyte on the other hand, was a closed book, a hard exterior who you knew had a soft interior lurking somewhere on the inside but one which Turner made us wait to discover. She was tenacious, pedantic, a fish out of water in the new London borough of Cambden, but somehow Turner gave her a tough inner resolve who wanted justice just as much as Cassie
Turner didn’t give their relationship the perfect start, instead it was filled with trepidation, with wariness and you could feel the chill rise from the pages. There were Flyte’s suspicions of Cassie, that she was not as innocent as she seemed, that somehow she had was involved, her tattoos and appearance supporting her stereotypical perceptions.
For Cassie the death of Mrs E, her tutor, her friend, her mother figure was a wake up call from the personal dive downwards she found herself in and Turner brilliantly explored her background, gave us a real sense of who she was and what had shaped her. Turner pushed her boundaries, made her take risks that had me holding my breath as I waited impatiently to see if she would emerge unscathed. Her constant pushing pushed herself and Flyte closer together and we watched as Turner turned that suspicion to mutual respect and team work. She broke down some of Flyte’s barriers, gave Cassie a small insight into something that lurked in her past, that somehow bound them together.
Cassie and Flyte’s relationship was the most important aspect of the novel, but Turner didn’t forget that we also wanted that quintessential crime novel, the one that had the myriad of twists and turns, that had moments of drama and tension and she didn’t disappoint. Missing bodies, shady characters, gangland culture and drugs, all found their way into their realm, thwarting their investigation and putting danger in their way. The final pages brought surprising revelations and a wonderfully satisfying tying up of loose ends.
Body Language was not for the faint hearted or those of a squeamish disposition, Turner’s descriptions of post mortems didn’t hold back. They were wonderfully graphic, and I for one loved them, and found the inner workings of the mortuary absolutely fascinating. Turner gave a real sense of the cold, eeriness of the morgue, of the particular type of characters that could endure the work and the environment, and I just knew it would not be a place i could work!
As you can probably guess I loved Body Language and Turner left me wanting more and more and more of Cassie and Flyte. I do hope the wait for a second novel will not be too long.
I would like to thank Zaffre Books for a copy of Body Language to read and review and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
A.K. Turner‘s first foray into crime fiction was a detective thriller trilogy, written under the pen name Anya Lipska, following the adventures of Janusz Kiszka, a fixer to London’s Polish community. All three books won critical acclaim and were twice optioned as a possible TV series. In her other life as a TV producer and writer, A.K. makes documentaries and drama-docs on subjects as diverse as the Mutiny on the Bounty, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and Monty Don’s Italian Gardens.