Down To No Good is a story that starts with resurrection that puts the protagonists on a path to redemption. Charlie Miner is, in some respects, half dead. He starts off dead from bullet wounds to the head and his soul finds its way back to his body. He’s able to repair physical damage and carry on with his life to a certain extent, but he’s still figuring out how his ability to leave the body and travel about works.
Meanwhile, his life is a bit of a mess. He’s living in the apartment of someone who no longer needs it and won’t be coming back (because they’re dead) but the bills are mounting and he’s stuck trying to figure out how to turn a small fortune into an accessible fortune, since it’s ill-gotten gains. He should be looking after his daughter, Mindy, but she’s looking after him most of the time. With his house in ashes from a fire and nowhere to go and a money problem, Charlie isn’t simply caught between the realms of the living and the dead. He’s caught between having a home and a life and being able to reestablish himself.
His friend, police detective Dave Putnam, isn’t in much better shape. And when prior unsolved cases come back to haunt him, it isn’t in the usual way that a case takes hold of a cop. The bodies of two different boys were recovered through the help of a psychic, although the cases remain unsolved, and the psychic is getting a lot of attention due to some other predictions that have apparently come true. When the psychic makes a new prediction with expected deaths in Dave’s territory the pressure on him increases. His boss wants to know what the deal with the psychic is because she’s made the department look bad and it’s clear that if there’s going to be a sacrificial lamb due to the embarrassment, it will be Dave.
Dave and Charlie begin their own investigation of the psychic and must unravel the truth about the psychic’s past in order to understand her connection to the criminal investigations she’s been involved with. Can they find the answers they need in time to stop a terrorist attack?
There are a lot of great things about this book. The writing is clean. The protagonists are compelling and getting parts of the story from both Charlie and Dave’s perspective allows the reader to start piecing things together as they both make separate discoveries. The supernatural aspects of the story don’t overtake the real-world mystery but they add a level of mystery of their own. Charlie is trying to understand what’s happening to him, and while it may seem that his ability to repair himself after death is a gift that will give him eternal life on earth, it seems there’s a limit to how much time he can spend untethered from his body. Once he learns this its clear that every time he takes his soul for a walk or take a bullet it could be the last.
Down To No Good builds to the action and the story’s pace increases as you turn the pages. The case itself has plenty of twists along the way while part of the underlying question the book asks is whether two men, who are pretty messed up and prone to substance abuse, can pull themselves together to help their community and to start the process of cleaning up their own lives.
This story will appeal to people who like gritty crime fiction with a touch of the supernatural who appreciate character development.