Monday, August 01, 2022

Shutter by Ramona Emerson

First Line: Souls don't scatter like the rest of the body.
 
Rita Todacheene is a forensic photographer for the Albuquerque Police Department. She has an uncanny knack for taking photos with such incredible detail that they've helped solve cases. 
 
What very few people don't know is that Rita sees the ghosts of crime victims, and these spirits point her in the direction of clues that other investigators overlook. Ghosts have ruled Rita's life from an early age. They are what drove her from a life on the Navajo Reservation, and they are responsible for her nightmares and lack of sleep.
 
When Rita is sent to the scene of a supposed suicide on a highway overpass, the furious ghost of the victim latches on to Rita, insisting that Rita prove she was murdered so the dead woman can have revenge on her killers. Little does Rita know, but this vengeful spirit is going to drag her right into the crosshairs of one of Albuquerque's most dangerous cartels.
 
~
 
When I read the synopsis of Shutter, I'm positive that I didn't read the whole thing. I remember seeing "forensic photographer", "Navajo Reservation", and "New Mexico", and I jumped at the chance to read it. Using my incredibly focused hindsight, I'm not entirely certain I would have read this book if I'd paid closer attention to the complete synopsis.
 
Shutter is part crime thriller, part supernatural horror, and part coming-of-age story. Which part would have kept me from reading this book? The supernatural horror part. Normally, I don't care to spend time with that particular genre. What kept me reading? The other two parts, that's what. The crime thriller was taut as a bowstring and often shocking. If gruesome depictions of crime scenes bother you, I would suggest you give this book a pass; however, I did not find the descriptions gratuitous-- they served to open wide the window into Rita's nightmarish world. The mystery wasn't easy to solve either.
 
The absolute best part of Shutter-- and the part that kept me glued to Rita's side-- was the coming of age aspect. Readers watch Rita as she grows up on the Navajo Reservation with her grandmother, who is deeply worried about Rita's "gift". The Navajo perspective of death and dealing with the dead is very different from most cultures, and I sincerely appreciated the opportunity to learn more about this.
 
Fortunately, the mystery and the coming of age aspects of Shutter helped keep me from mentally dropkicking Erma the supposed highway overpass suicide into the next world where she belonged-- talk about an annoying character! But... as much as I did enjoy the mystery and learning more about the Navajo culture, I'm not sure I would want to read another book featuring Rita. That indecision has everything to do with my own personal tastes in reading and very little to do with Shutter itself.
 
 
Shutter by Ramona Emerson
eISBN: 9781641293341
Soho Press © 2022
eBook, 312 pages
 
Thriller/Native American mystery
Rating: C+
Source: Net Galley

14 comments:

  1. I've requested this from Netgalley and do hope I get it. It sounds so good. Thank you for the review.

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    1. You're welcome, Mystica. I hope you enjoy the book.

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  2. Well, one more I don't have to read, and not even put it on the burgeoning list(s).

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  3. Hmm... the Navajo background interests me, Cathy. But I have real limits to the gruesome crime scenes I'm willing to read about, and the supernatural horror stuff isn't my thing. No, honestly, I don't think this is for me. Still, the setting is appealing...

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    1. That was the best part of the book, Margot.

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  4. Nah, I don't think this one is for me, but it's good that you found parts of it to enjoy after an unpromising start.

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    1. It might be better than I'd originally thought, since I'd still like to kick that ghost's behind! LOL

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  5. I'm intrigued by the whole concept and what you told here. I'm fairly certain that you've mentioned this book before or maybe that it was coming out. Something made me put myself on the hold list for this at my library. Think I'm #2 in line. We'll see how it goes for me when I do get a chance to try it. And I don't think the supernatural, etc. will bother me much. As you say, we all have our personal tastes and what we choose to read or what we can handle. :-)

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  6. I love that Rita can see ghosts. And since I do like that mix of mystery and supernatural I'd probably really like this book...and this series. So I'm very glad you read this one! Thanks. :D

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    1. You're welcome, Lark! That's one thing that I always remember while writing my reviews: the things that sink my boat can be the very things that float someone else's dinghy. ;-)

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  7. I was initially a little tempted to put this one on the list but wasn't real sure about the supernatural aspect, a little uneasy with being able to commit to that whole premise. Thankfully, your review has pushed me in the right direction; this one is not for me.

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Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!