A psychic 17-year-old learns to talk to the living, while an adult detective catches a serial killer in this sequel to Dead Connection (2006).
Murray’s only friends are the dead teenagers who talk to him at the cemetery and Pearl, the cemetery caretaker's daughter, who befriended him when she helped him use his ability to speak with the dead to solve a murder in the previous book. Pearl's father, Janochek, allows Murray to live in a cemetery shed since the boy's unwilling to live with his prostitute mother. But despite the friendship of Pearl and Janochek, Murray is introverted and shy. While Pearl angrily pushes him to further develop his psychic powers, Murray develops an attraction for a dead girl, a cute-as-a-button dancer he'd seen from a distance while she was alive. Meanwhile, Murray's old ally/antagonist, Deputy Gates, seeks clues about a rash of missing homeless people. Along with his fellow officers and a social-worker girlfriend, Deputy Gates does legwork worthy of a police procedural. In interwoven segments of choppy, fragmented prose conveyed in shifting points of view that give all the characters a similarly odd, adult voice, Deputy Gates, Murray, Pearl, and Janochek observe these two scarcely intersecting storylines. The sense of fragmentation is heightened by infodumps about social work, homelessness, domestic violence, and the criminal justice system. The resolution owes more to adult efforts than to Murray's powers.
Better as a mystery than a coming-of-age tale but not even fully successful as that. (Paranormal mystery. 15-18)