Into the Light by Darcia Helle is such a good book. It's a ghost story, it's a mystery, it's a story about love and friendship, it's humorous, it's touching. That's a lot for a book to be, but Into The Light is all that and more.
Max Paddington is having a bad day, a bad life and a bad afterlife. On the day his wife asks him for a divorce, he's shot and killed, much to his surprise. Even more surprising, he's become a ghost and can't move Into The Light until he finds out why he was killed and who killed him. He's convinced that his wife wants a divorce because he bought an expensive set of golf clubs that he couldn't afford. He's also convinced that either his wife killed him or hired some one to do the killing. The problem is, he doesn't know how to get the answers he seeks. He also doesn't know how to move about in the spirit world or how to communicate with anyone. He sure wishes being dead came with an instruction booklet.
Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, who as a youngster, had imaginary friends. Were they imaginary friends or ghosts? When Joe hears someone yelling at him but doesn't see any one, he knows that ghosts are a part of his life. After Max convinces Joe to help him look into his murder and find his killer, the two form an unlikely friendship and set out to solving the mystery. What follows is, at times, a humorous escapade following leads and pursuit of the bad guy.
The characters are well developed and realistic. Yes, I know, how can a ghost be realistic? While I was reading, I kept thinking, yeah, that might be something I would do. Max has so many human traits that you could easily forget he's a ghost. The friendship formed between Max and Joe seems very real, and it helps them both to grow. They help each other is ways neither knew they needed help with. Their friendship continued to grow throughout the entire book.
The mystery of the killer and the motive are carried out throughout the entire book. The reason for the shooting came as a surprise to me and I thought it was a great twist. And as I was reading, I found myself not even caring the who or the why. I was too busy enjoying the banter of the two main characters, seeing how they helped each other. There were times, while reading, that I would laugh out loud. At other times, I had tears in my eyes. Being able to take readers through these extremely opposite emotions makes for a good book. And I think it takes an excellent author to do that.
I can't recommend this book enough to anyone who like a ghost story or enjoys a well crafted mystery. And if you love a book that takes you through many different emotions, then this book is for you. This is the first book I've read by Darcia Helle but it most definitely won't be my last. I have my fingers crossed that this will be the first in a series starring Max and Joe.