on June 8, 2012 :
Also on http://ttoria.blogspot.com
My thoughts: More three and a half, than just a solid three star rating. I enjoyed Absolution, even though I rarely read Detective Mysteries. The supernatural spin was great and the characters were likeable. But before going into that, I'll explain the plot:
Private Detective Ray Adams is shot and killed in 1947 and sent to the Abstract Realm, where his afterlife consists of endless fabricated scenarios, meant to rid his soul of impurities. He's not alone in the Realm, Shadow Monger, Harry, is there. But it's not until another Shadow Monger visits that Ray gets his shot at absolution when he's given the opportunity to solve a murder in Hollywood.
But it's not any old murder investigation, brought back to life for only twenty-four hours, he has to find out who murdered Gio, a Pit Lordling (and son of Pit Lord, Lucifer) and locate his missing soul.
Faced with supernatural and celestial beings, Ray's investigation soon spirals out of control when more dead bodies begin to rack up without souls and every lead he gets; pushes him further into chaos.
Absolution pretty much has a lot going on with quite a few characters. But these characters do help add to the mystery of who the culprit actually is. I changed my mind a few times when trying to figure it out.
I liked Ray instantly, a no-fear kind of guy, he knows how to do his job well and thinks fast when in sticky situations. The fact he had a thunderbolt gun just made him cooler lol. Once fired at a target, a moment later the target would then be struck with a strong lightening bolt.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on June 7, 2012 :
Louis Corsair's Absolution is an unusual novel, a 1940s pulp detective novel, transported to present day LA, and coloured with the trappings of an urban fantasy. It's an awkward mingling of genres that shouldn't work, but which he manages to pull off.
The story starts with a bang - literally - as Raymond Adams is shot dead in an investigation gone wrong. From there we're transported to a kind of limbo, complete with a supernatural attendant, before he's called upon to make a temporary return to the land of the living in order to investigate a supernatural death.
If I had one problem with the novel, it's that the mythology behind the tale (which is pretty heavy) is simply dropped on the reader. As a reader whose knowledge of all things spiritual pretty much begins with Dawkins and ends with Hitchens, I'm not sure how much of the mythology is canonical and how much is imagined, but I definitely felt lost for the first few chapters. Corsair offers enough tidbits for the reader to get by, but I do wonder if perhaps I missed something.
That one quibble aside, this is a story that works very well. There's just enough culture shock for Adams to ring true, without being too comical, and his deadpan gumshoe narration comes across as authentic. The range of characters is just as unsavoury as you'd expect from such a tale, complete with the proverbial stripper with a heart of gold to keep the detective on track. Jenn was definitely an interesting character, one who seemed to go along with all the weirdness a bit to easily, but who does get her WTF moment later on.
This is a genuine whodunit, an old fashioned mystery that keeps you guessing. The twists and turns are genuine ones, honestly presented to the reader as Adams comes in contact with them. There's no feeling that the author is holding back or cheating the reader, and the joy of working the case alongside Adams keeps the story going.
While there are some horrific moments, and some instances of questionable morals, Corsair is generally content to show and not tell. He's economical with his words, never wasting the narration on details that are not integral to the plot . . . or of interest to Adams.
All-in-all, an unusual novel that works better than I expected.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)