All Souls Lost

All Souls Lost by Dan Moren

All Souls Lost by Dan Moren

JAB Books, pb, £15.20

Reviewed by Sarah Deeming

Mike Lucifer, a private investigator of supernatural cases, has been MIA for two years after the untimely death of his partner, hiding on a beach getting drunk. But his money has run out, so Mike’s back for one night to raid his old offices for extra funds. It should have been an easy in-and-out. Before he can vanish again, a job lands on his desk, investigating the unusual suicide of a powerful tech company’s latest protégé, and the money will help Mike continue his early retirement. With the tech company keen for him not to be involved and a possible ghost haunting, Mike is in some trouble, but nothing he can’t handle. But there are similarities between the case that got his partner killed and this one, and if Mike can’t accept his involvement in his partner’s death, then he may never crack this case.

All Souls Lost is the start of a new series by Dan Moren focusing on the paranormal private investigator Mike Lucifer. Set in an urban environment, Moren mixes the magical with the everyday to create a unique environment with a detective noir feel in keeping with the story’s genre. Told exclusively from Lucifer’s point of view, the story has a strong voice that carries the narrative forward. Lucifer is also an untrustworthy narrator and avoids certain truths rather than facing them head-on. This means the story twists and turns with style and character and keeps the reader on their toes.

The story moves along quickly as Lucifer investigates the death of Peter Wu, a tech genius working for a large, successful company that probably uses the outline of a fruit for its logo. Lucifer has to reconnect with his friends to help him explore why Peter’s death is not the suicide it initially appears, and each time he reaches out to an old friend or contact, he is forced to reexamine the death of his old partner and Lucifer’s involvement.

Some of the characters felt a bit like generalisations: the ice-cold female executive, the down-and-out but brilliant magician, the cheeky chappy main character with a heart of gold and loyal to the end, but this is the first in a new series, and so I am confident that over time, the characters will flesh out.

As a fan of Moren’s other work, The Galactic Cold War series, I was excited to read All Souls Lost and experience Moren’s skill at storytelling from a different point of view. Overall, I was not disappointed, and I’m keen of the next instalment of this new series. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, then this is definitely for you.

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