Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series
The narrator, Darnda Jones is a bug psychic. She can tune into bugs and inspire them to go away, keeping people from spraying and killing them. This charmed me immediately, since I love insects. That someone so gentle she literally won’t hurt a fly could get involved in a murder investigation seems unlikely, so the juxtaposition is inventive. In Stung, Darnda is engaged to de-bug an outdoor wedding in Houston. She’s not only communicates with insects, birds and other creatures, but she’s learning to move her perception inside of theirs, to quite literally take a bird’s eye view. While in the point of view of a scarlet tanager, she witnesses a murder at the wedding.
Using her psychic gifts, her granddaughter Zo’s complementary intuition with human energy and emotional material, and her skill with people, Darnda investigates the death while also cooperating with the police. This is an amateur sleuth mystery in which it actually makes sense that the amateur can learn things the police can’t. Her psychic experiences are beautifully written and thoroughly researched, showing insights into the ways plants, birds and insects communicate with each other and sense the world.
The humor in the book comes authentically from relationships, events, and Darnda’s offbeat outlook on the world. The murder and other crimes are not made light of. In fact, Darnda and Zo are so sensitive to human cruelty that I felt that the awfulness of certain acts more vividly than I have in other light or cozy mysteries.
Darnda’s self-acceptance and wisdom as well as her unusual talents make her stand out from the run-of-the mill cozy protagonist. This is one of those books that made me care more about the characters than the plot. It wasn’t hard to figure out who done it, though that didn’t in any way affect my enjoyment of the book.
Houston is portrayed well. The city’s various neighborhoods, its unique character, and its climate, vegetation and insects, all come to life.
My only tiny quibble with the whole novel is a little too much phone business in a chapter near the end, with several scenes back to back that consist of a series of phone calls.
A great read, polished, fluid, and unique, a change of pace in mystery.
Note: Once again, Booklikes had no link for the book I was reviewing, and I had to find and provide the cover image. Am I reading things that are that obscure?