Feb 15, 2015

Near Death and the Afterlife in Crime Novels

I recently posted a review at my other blogsite of a delightful crime novel entitled, First Grave on the Right, by author Darynda Jones. This book was the first in a series that numbers eight novels by now and still counting.

The central character is a young woman detective with psychic abilities named Charley, who can 'see dead people'. These are usually wandering souls who have recently suffered some grisly end and come to Charley to appeal to her to find and catch their killers - whom they usually know. It's quite a witty, entertaining plot device, but Ms. Jones has imbued this gimmick with a certain subliminal spiritual world view - which is why I liked the book and chose to review it. Imagine the convenience when the victims of a murder can tell you 'who dun it.' 

The review can be read here at Crime Scene Reviews/

Jones calls upon many of the insights gleaned from Near Death Experiences over the years, including a loving light that draws souls into its embrace. Her post-deathly friends, who come to her with various problems, are first attracted to Charley's own light, which is a reflection of the more Infinite Light that awaits them when their final tasks on this earthly plane have been completed. And it is Charley who helps them make the transition to the infinite beyond, to let go and surrender to the Light. It's a lovely spiritual world view and it's presented gently, unobtrusively and with a good deal of humor and romance thrown into the bargain. One can take this spiritual perspective or leave it, the author leaves you free. Wisely, she has made it non-sectarian. There are no angles or Sacred Hearts in sight - or iconography from any other known religion. But the sense of an unconditional love pervading the universe - breathing its presence just behind the terrible events of a violent and unjust world - gives a unique perspective to this crime novel. It is a vision of hope beyond suffering and despair, and though lightly done, it makes these crime novels a unique contribution to the genre. Suffering is not the end. Beyond all contradictions, there is the Light, lovingly calling us into its embrace. 

Don't judge these books by their lurid covers. They are more than empty 'chic-lit' romances.