Past Imperfections (A Matti James Mystery)


Matti James is a forensic reconstruction artist (think Angela Montenegro on Bones) in Las Vegas, Nevada. In her “spare” time, she works with an all-female group of investigators that make up the Foothill Canyons Investigative Agency. Their first money-making case is a Las Vegas performer/singer/diva named Layla Bourne who claims someone is out to kill her - but Layla was supposed to have died two weeks earlier in a plane crash with five other people. It seems the media, despite the coroner office’s lack of confirmation, has prematurely claimed the crash victim's remains as being Layla’s. Aided by a handful of in-betweeners—spirits of the dead only seen by Matti and another little boy—Matti begins to unravel the mystery of who killed whom amongst the growing list of dead—as well as the undead.

An immensely entertaining detective thriller, “Past Imperfections” employs the addition of members of the spirit world to solve a crime. Although the plot was well developed and conflicted, at times the technical jargon slowed the pacing and made the dialogue drag. Occasionally, the dead, or “inbetweeners”, didn’t stay that way long enough to cause any trouble or be a real threat to Matti. The implication that one in particular could have been trouble (but wasn’t) came across as a loose end. Other than a handful of typos and the lack of romance or feel-good ending, it was a well-crafted story that any reader of police thrillers should find enjoyable. Well done!

Lori Leger