I thought I had read a book in this series before but when I checked, I didn't see Booth's name on my list. Must have been several years ago, or I've just heard so much about the series that I was mistaken. This Cooper and Fry series is popular and successful of course, but I was a bit disappointed with this particular story,
First, Cooper and Fry. I do like Cooper. He's a thinker, compassionate toward people and animals, has a good detective's intuition, and seems easy to get along with. Fry, on the other hand, is in this story at least moody, touchy, edgy, and a bit obtuse. I noted that she's dealing with some issues from her childhood when she was shuttled from foster home to foster home, and her sister is now living with her. Since the sister is a former heroin addict, this is causing problems.
The story is difficult to follow and has strange characters. For instance, a retired professor who specializes in (actually is obsessed with) death, all aspects of death. There is a funeral home owned by Melvyn Hudson with employee Vernon Slack, the grandson of one of the founders of the business. Melvyn thinks of Vernon as stupid and useless.
Speaking of useless, one funny spot in this depressing story is that Cooper meets the property owner where a body is found and the man has four hound dogs who tend to sleep in a pile on the porch. Their names are Graceless, Feckless, Aimless, and Pointless. I still laugh at them and their names.
There are other murders and attempted murders, missing persons, a crematorium, a series of mysterious phone calls tantalizing the detectives with supposed clues to a murder coming soon and I found it tough to follow. At the end I didn't feel as if I had all the answers I needed. Some likely suspects just seemed to drop off the edge of the page never to be heard from again.
Keeping in mind that sometimes what doesn't appeal to me might be just the thing for another reader, Cooper & Fry mysteries didn't get so popular without something good going for them so I intend to read at least one more. Maybe I just happened to start with a rare miss from this author.
Recommended if you know and love this series
Source: Publisher Witness Impulse Imprint, HarperCollins