Title: Not Dead Yet (Not Dead Yet #1)
Author: Jenn Burke
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: February 4, 2019
Genre(s): Paranormal Mystery / Romance
Page Count: 270
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Dying isn’t what it used to be.
Wes Cooper was dead. Then he wasn’t—though he’s not exactly alive, either. As an immortal not-ghost, he can transition between this world and the otherplane, which makes him the perfect thief for hire. For seventy years he’s made a “living” returning items to their rightful owners, seeing his fair share of the bizarre in the process. But he’s never witnessed murder. Until now.
His latest mission brings him more than he bargained for: a very-dead actor who is definitely going to stay that way. It’s just Wes’s luck that his ex-boyfriend, Detective Hudson Rojas, is assigned to the case. Hudson broke Wes’s heart years ago—and could again, given he’s rocking a hot silver-fox look that shouldn’t be legal.
As they work together to track down the murderer before anyone else gets hurt, it becomes clear Wes and Hudson have unfinished business. And when a secret Hudson’s been keeping threatens more than just their happiness, it might mean the end of their not-life together—permanently.
“Not Dead Yet” is totally not in my wheelhouse, what with all the ghosts, evil spirits and creatures of the night, but I completely adore this book and only after pondering just how to review it do I realize how darn complex it is and what a wonderful job Burke does in creating this world and its characters.
Wes Cooper is a resurrected ghost who is immortal and exists partially in the Otherplane which allows him to transport almost anywhere, which is a skill he uses to steal – oops “recover” – items for hire. This used to drive Wes’ former boyfriend cop Hudson Royas crazy, because he always figured Wes had been given his life back and his talent to use it for good in the world. And when Hudson and Wes meet again (30+ years after their breakup) because of a murder Wes witnessed from the Otherplane, there is still this intense attraction fueled by years of bottled up rage, lust, irritation and humor.
What Burke does so beautifully here is give us layers and layers of emotions and backstory and insight (sort of a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma with a crunchy taco coating – to paraphrase Winston Churchill) and while it takes a while, the payoff is worth the wait. For example, when we learn how Wes became a ghost or what Hudson has been up to the past 30 years, it hits hard. And don’t get me started on Wes connecting with a little girl ghost and helping solve her murder – it brought more than a few tears to my eyes.
I don’t want to give a lot of details about the plot because most of the fun is uncovering what’s going on, but the character development is stellar (also loved Evan and Lexi), the plot is completely engrossing, the pace is brisk and keeps your interest constantly, and I love how the ending sets up the overarching mystery of the series, and I cannot wait to read more! 5 stars and a Recommended Read.