The Dead Beat: Volume 1 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 97 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The storylines didn't always rise above the basic concept, but the basic concept rocks like a heavy metal band that's getting free drinks from the bar. The serialized presentation felt gimmicky at first, and the world-building exposition was a bit clunky in the beginning too, but that noir style was dead on. Delightfully gritty. The snappy dialogue and pithy descriptions kept me going. Once the world basics were covered, the cast was more fully introduced and and the characters started to mesh...things really took off.
The Dead Beat, Volume One contains the first nine stories from the short story serial "The Dead Beat", originally published in eFiction Magazine [...]. The serial tells the stories of Police Exorcist Arphallo Sirus and his ghost partner Sam Trent who hunt down the ghosts that break the laws of the living and the dead. Arphallo uses salt and arcane exorcism spells to remove ghosts illegally skinriding (the term for a ghost using the body of a living person without that person's permission).
Since this is a collection of short stories in the same world rather than a novel, there are some gaps in the continuity of the overarching story. The first few stories are quite short and reveal very little about the two main characters. In the later stories, we learn more about the people who contract out their bodies to be used by ghosts (referred to as "puppets") as well as some of the rules which dictate appropriate behavior of ghosts. My favorite one was "Drink Deep", in which we learn about the owner of Sam's host body and how he's very different from other ghosts.
I won't spoil the ending for you - you will have to read it for yourself - but you will be looking for "The Dead Beat, Volume Two" as soon as you finish the last story called "The Death of Arphallo Sirus".
Definitely got better as I read on.