Too Far Under By Lynn Osterkamp

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I thought this would be a typical murder mystery.  There would be a logical flow from a mundane evidence flow.  Only I was pleasantly surprised to see this author challenging the genre.  Osterkamp provides us with a sleuth that can interact with the dead.  Perhaps not for some readers who prefer a crime noir set-up.  However, it’s a perfect way to ensure that our sleuth can solve the case.  What better way than to be able to talk to the victim of the crime? 

This is the second book in the Cleo and Tyler Series. I have not read the first book.

The mystery is only a part of the novel.  Certainly, it’s the major plot point to find out what happened since the first chapter is the murder.  Quite a clean and quick one too since our victim doesn’t see the murderer.  We are left wondering what has happened and we have little development until about seventy pages into the book. 

However, our main character, Cleo Sims has a fairly interesting life with an unusual sidekick.  Her narrative sucks you in and you begin to worry about her relationship problems and her family as well.  There is some suspense, but it’s not exactly sitting on the edge of your seat.  This book is what I would deem a summer beach read.  It’s good, but you can put it down and walk away.  The suspense is enough to keep it interesting, but I didn’t find myself staying up all night to finish it.  Her sidekick is a ghost named Tyler.  Like all the other ghosts they interact with in the book, his information is not always directly helpful.

Cleo is not the typical sleuth.  She seems partly unwilling to be involved in a murder investigation.  Cleo Sims is a warm-hearted grief counselor who solves crime as an aid to her clients seeking therapy.  She is more concerned with the living and their needs.  She helps people contact the dead, but she isn’t doing it herself.  The plot is more concerned with the living and the consequences of the victim’s death rather than laying blame. 
I recommend this to someone who likes drama more than mysteries.  If you prefer mysteries that are solved with lab equipment and physical evidence or police procedurals then you probably won’t like this book.  Too Far Under is concerned much more with the character development rather than the crime.  It’s readable, but it’s not in my favorites list.  I prefer Sherlock Holmes and Bones who utilize science and detailed clues to solve a case.  

Lynn Osterkamp has written both fiction and non-fiction.  The setting is where she lives in Boulder, Colorado.  She provides wonderful imagery of her hometown.  It made her characters seem more real since I know that the places are real.  

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I was given this book to review.  On a slightly related note, I received this book in a digital format.  It took me longer to read than usual mostly because I prefer a physical book to an e-book.  

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