THE ACCIDENTAL MEDIUM by Tracy Whitwell from @panmacmillan


Pan Macmillan, paperback, £8.99

Reviewed by Stephen Frame

The front cover The Accidental Medium by Tracy Whitwell. The cover is white. There is a glass ball in the middle of the page with the book's title inside it. The glass ball's base is red. There is a white candle in a red holder in the bottom right hand corner. There is a dagger with a red handle in the bottom left hand corner. There is a female hand holding a glass of red wine in the top left hand corner and a hand in the top right hand corner. Smoke from the candle is weaving through the fingers and there are three stars in each of the top corners of the cover.

Tanz is from the North of England, drinks a lot of wine, used to have an acting career and hears voices in her head. Desperate for work, she takes up a job in a New Age shop, where she meets Sheila, a medium, who convinces her, by way of taking her on an exorcism, that the voices in her head are the voices of the dead.

This is the starting premise of The Accidental Medium, the first book in a promised trilogy. It’s a fun read. Don’t expect anything too serious, although the book does have some darker moments as Tanz takes on the challenge of helping the spirits of the dead find peace. Mostly though, it’s bright and breezy in style; Tanz is a great character, exactly the kind of person you want with you on a night out.

The blurb on the back cover leans towards pitching the story as a paranormal murder mystery, but this aspect only comes later. The main part of the story loops around Tanz’s life, as she negotiates a new love interest, deals with her past, helps out her friends and comes to terms with her new role as a medium. It’s fair to say this first book does read like the opening third of a much longer story rather than a self-contained tale, but it’s done so well that you don’t feel too aggrieved at it. This is the kind of book you could easily devour over a lazy weekend and still have time left for Sunday evening telly. There’s an ensemble cast of characters who perhaps at times come too close to stereotype, but by and large, you can forgive this, sit back and enjoy the ups and downs of Tanz’s new life as a speaker for the dead. If you like a story with a cosy feel, great dialogue, finely observed character and a ghost or two, pick this one up. It will not disappoint.

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