There are so many things I liked about “Dead Light District,” the second (of three so far) Sasha Jackson Mysteries by author Jill Edmondson (@JillEdmondson), that I’m going to start this review by listing something I didn’t like.
OK, silly joke aside, I read “Dead Light District” in the span of a couple days, firing it up on my Kindle every free moment (… at the barber shop! … while cooking dinner! … between periods of hockey playoff games!) and late into the night.
As with all of my reviews, I hesitate to give too much plot away for fear of spoiling things for future readers; I get a kick out of unexpected twists and turns and as much as I’d like to share with you my reactions to what happens … I think you should experience them on your own.
Toronto is in the midst of a scorching heat wave, and thirtysomething private investigator Sasha Jackson has been hired by a local madam to locate a beautiful and now missing prostitute from Mexico, Mary Carmen. Sasha is no prude, but she has some reservations about delving into the seamier side of Toronto. Curiosity — and an empty bank account — get the best of her, however, and what follows if a fast-paced thrill ride with a few blind corners and dead ends along the way.
Although the subject matter — the sex trade including human trafficking — is serious and handled appropriately so, I never got the impression of being lectured to or one side of the issue given more emphasis than the other. Sasha’s feelings evolve through the story as she learns more about the people involved, but her core convictions don’t.
I found Sasha to be a very realistic character. Constantly worried about money, she makes mistakes along the way like realizing later about forgetting to ask key questions during interviews, but her determination and ability to step back and take a different approach keep the investigation moving forward. Sasha’s observations and comments are very humorous, and when her love life (or lack thereof) crops up the storyline doesn’t dip into clichés.
I also enjoyed the way the story was structured, with most of the narrative coming from Sasha’s point of view but with Mary Carmen also having a say so there is some overlap as the tale unfolds. The red herrings don’t detract from the story in any way as they crop up and are dealt with appropriately.
All in all I would highly recommend “Dead Light District” to anyone looking for a fast, fun read with an appealing protagonist. I would further say the other two Sasha Jackson Mysteries are good bets to be more of the same, and well worth checking out. I know they’re now on my To-Read list.