High Crimes on the Magical Plane
A Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty Mystery by Kris Neri
Review: Kris Neri introduces psychic (but not really) Samantha Brennan and FBI agent (but oh so much more) Annabelle Haggerty, a rather engaging if unusual pair of crime solvers, in the paranormal mystery High Crimes on the Magical Plane.
Samantha ekes out a living as a psychic in reality-impaired Los Angeles, but she'd really like to move on to some place where her talents would be more appreciated, like Sedona Arizona. But until she can save enough for a move, she dresses the part and sees the future for a small list of clients, which includes Dodi Drake, the widow of a former US Vice President. While on her way to visit Dodi, she sees an SUV filled with … clowns? Not being a true psychic, but able to quickly make a connection, she believes the clowns may have something to do with another resident in Dodi's building, the actress Molly Claire. Molly had recently been in the news when she unsuccessfully tried to get a restraining order against a group of stalkers, which the press dubbed "Molly's clowns". Fearing the worst, she sneaks into Molly's apartment to find it trashed, Molly missing, and a dead body stuffed in an armoire. Seizing the opportunity to "see the future" before it happens (i.e. before the news gets out), but also do her civic duty, she rushes to the FBI to report her "vision". Assigned to hear her story is agent Annabelle who immediately recognizes Samantha for the fraud she is, but also trusts her instincts that the "vision" is real. She too seizes on her own opportunity: as a Celtic goddess, Annabelle believes she can use Samantha to help her solve the case without revealing who she really is.
The story moves along briskly, alternating between the two principal characters' points of view. For Samantha, it's a first person narrative, which suits her perfectly. Her character is edgy, sarcastic, and cynical — but also self-aware. "Though I generally believed corners wouldn't exist if we weren't meant to cut them, I decided tonight I had to play my act straight. Well, pretty straight — after all, it was still an act." For Annabelle, it's a third person narrative, which also plays well into her intellectual and reserved nature — as reserved as a Celtic goddess who's also an FBI agent can be. And though paranormal mysteries must, almost by definition, stretch the bounds of credulity, the plot here seems overly convoluted, far-fetched even. Still, the pairing of Samantha and Annabelle, in a rather remarkable way, keeps High Crimes on the Magical Plane grounded and, if you will, credible. It is an interesting and entertaining debut for this series.
Acknowledgment: Red Coyote Press provided an ARC of High Crimes on the Magical Plane for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Revenge for Old Times' Sake
Cherokee McGhee (Trade Paperback), March 2010
ISBN-13: 9780979969454; ISBN-10: 097996945X
Location(s) referenced in High Crimes on the Magical Plane: Los Angeles, California
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High Crimes on the Magical Plane by Kris Neri — A Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty Mystery
Publisher: Red Coyote Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2009
List Price: $16.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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