Friday, March 26, 2021

From the Grave by David Housewright

First Sentence: The young woman who identified herself as a psychic medium moved with almost absentminded confidence among the fifty people who had paid forty dollars each for a seat in the community center lecture hall with the hope that she might help them connect with a dead mother or father, uncle or aunt, a dead child—by no promises.

From a friend who attended a psychic reading, former cop, Rushmore McKenzie, learns of a threat placed on his life by the spirit of Leland Hayes, a man McKenzie had killed. Now, more than 21 years later, a highly skeptical McKenzie becomes involved with two psychic mediums to find the money and, due to one of the mediums, to locate a missing woman.

Housewright creates a strong sense of place, even for something as basic as Nina's condo. The interplay between the two characters is easy and natural—"I like your outfit." "Really? Last night you couldn’t wait for me to take it off."—and a particular conversation between them provides good background and an explanation of their relationship. McKenzie's unpleasant neighbor provides a touch of normalcy. Mackenzie has an inner monologue that is used sparingly and effectively, often with a touch of humor. Housewright has also given him an excellent playlist.

It is always fun when an author references other authors. Because of the psychic aspect, he also references a number of popular paranormal investigation shows, but it is McKenzie's skepticism that keeps things grounded until his skepticism is tested. Learning what goes on in the making of such shows is both interesting and demystifying without taking away from the possibility of actuality.

This book is somewhat lighter and less suspenseful than some. In this time of COVID-19 when many are having trouble concentrating, that's not a bad thing. Even so, the story does not lack for twists or red herrings.

"From the Grave," at its foundation, is a solid mystery, well-constructed and enjoyable. One may, or may not, accept the paranormal aspect, but it does provide an extra layer of creativity. However, best of all, is the ending that makes one smile.

FROM THE GRAVE (Unl Invest/Para/ColdCase-Rushmore McKenzie-Minn/St. Paul, MN – Contemp) – VG
Housewright, David – 17th in series
Minotaur Books, May 2020, 312 pp


  1. I like the Rushmore McKenzie character a lot. It's so nice to have a main character who's got flaws, as we all do, but who isn't one of those damaged, self-destructive characters. And I do like the sense of setting and place in the novels, too. I think Housewright does a really effective job of placing the reader. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    1. I agree. I very much enjoy his books and already have his May release "What Doesn't Kill Us" on my Kindle.