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  • Writer's pictureIan Ayris

Dead is Better by Jo Perry - a review

The Review

Charlie, Charlie’s dead. He’s sort of floating, looking down at himself from the ceiling at his body laying there on the operating table, his chest ripped up with bullet holes. Yep. Charlie is definitely dead. And he’s not happy about it. And then there’s this dog. Sitting there. Watching.

Charlie has a lot of questions, and no answers. How do you get about in this place? Can you make things move? How do you communicate? Who killed him, and why? And what the hell has this dog got to do with anything?

Dead is Better is a book like no other I have ever read. The reader does not turn the page, the reader floats above the page, looking down on the action just as Charlie does. How Perry achieves this effect, I have no idea. The prose is delightfully simple. The chapters are short, cut with a surgeon’s precision. The voice of Charlie is clear but always distant, the reader feels his feelings, but as though through a glass dome. The effect is remarkable - the utter lack of pretentiousness, the absence of any sort of self-absorption on the part of the writer. It is a book completely lacking in ego, almost as if the book has not been written at all, but simply is.

To call this book a murder mystery is to miss the point entirely. This books speaks of friendship and of truth, of loss, of meaning.

And it is beautiful.

Dead is Better is the first in the Charlie and Rose Investigates series, and is available direct from Fahrenheit Press in Kindle and Paperback here:

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