Review: Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Review: Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Rosemary Clement-Moore’s name on a book assures me that I’m in for a delightful and clever  novel. It also translates to some late nights of reading until my eyes will no longer continue a marathon session filled with humor and a fantastical world.

The Goodnight family’s funny, eccentric, unique and lovable and they have the gift of magic. Their magic has wrapped itself around me from my first read of author Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic to her latest novel Spirit and Dust.

I first met the Goodnights with all their magical quirkiness in Texas Gothic, which I loved for its humor and a thick coat of mystery with a few Nancy Drew references. None of the Goodnights fit neatly into predicable package, which is true of Spirit and Dust’s main character, Daisy Goodnight, who possesses a magical talent with a deadly twist.

The local cops kept staring at me. I couldn’t decide if it was the plaid miniskirt in subarctic temperatures, or the fact that they’d never seen anyone talk to the dead before.

Daisy sits with Agent Taylor, her FBI handler, who asks her what she sees.

I had to swallow before I could speak. I like to pretend I’m all Daisy Goodnight, kick-ass teen psychic, when really most of the time I’m all, "Please don’t let me puke in front of the FBI."

Daisy’s called in to help the FBI because she can see what remains after a body’s been removed from the site where it met its demise. She sees what CSI officials cannot.

[There was]an afterimage -- one that only I could See -- remained where he’d fallen, the vivid imprint of his violent death stamped into the intangible fabric of reality.

Whatever unbelievable events occur in a Clement-Moore tale, become believable.

Enter this world without doubting that its reality beckons you. You know what goes through Daisy’s mind, a mind that has more than magical ability--she has very human thoughts and frailties. 

Her FBI handler Agent Taylor aka “Agent Tasty” to Daisy, conjures up vivid thoughts for Daisy. She’s three months short of eighteen. Since she’s shy of legal age, they stay within the boundaries of what’s deemed appropriate. Nonetheless she ogles his good looks. He in turn doesn’t call her Daisy. Oh no, never; with humor and affection, he dubs her “Jailbait.” (This is all quite humorous and good-natured, and completely non-creepy.)

Excited and flattered that she’s swept out of her high school science class and flown by the FBI to Minnesota to help solve a kidnapping and subsequent murder case, Daisy thinks she can truly do some good.

Something crazy’s going on in the spirit world. Whatever it is, the spirits are quaking in fear. 

Just when she’s settling in to assist the FBI, a no-holds-barred battle forms in the human world. Ruthless and without scruples, a depraved crime boss has plans to use Daisy to fulfill his evil ambition. Magic harnessed by one human will mean total control over both the spirits and the living. 

It’s time to bring out the Big Guns, aka The Goodnights.

Daisy’s deceased Aunt Ivy passes from the spirit world into the living to assist in the fight against unbridled evil. The head of the crime syndicate continues his move forward to gain control and spread his ghoulish plans into two worlds - the living and the dead.

...Aunt Ivy slipped through the wall...When I was dead, I wanted to be like Ivy.

Ivy’s an independent spirit who in neither life nor death allowed expectations to direct her. Forces gather on many fronts: evil, good, spirits, phantoms, living, magical. A war for control clashes on a mystic and real battlefield. Creatures come to life. The world shudders. 

I do not know if there are more planned installments in the Goodnight series, but I certainly hope so, because I want to know what may come next in this magical, humor-filled world. If you haven’t read Texas Gothic, try it before Spirit and Dust; while Spirit and Dust isn’t a traditional sequel (it’s a companion novel), you’ll understand the dynamics of the Goodnight family so much better. Regardless, it can be read as a standalone. 

Last year, I wrote about why Rosemary Clement-Moore is one of my favorite authors
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