Michael Skellig

Created by Jeff Johnson

Here I go again, slipping another non-P.I. into the deck...

Like some fever dream Sixth Sense, former Special Forces sergeant turned Los Angeles limo driver sees dead people, and has learned to heed their warnings. So when the ghost of a Chehen jihadist he killed in Yemen a decade ago starts murmuring troubletroubletrouble while he's cooling his heels waiting by his limo for his passenger, Bismarck Avila, an obnoxious millionaire hip-hop/sk8r boy (an obnoxious little shit, if there ever was one), to emerge from some trendy LA hotspot, Michael doesn't hesitate.

But all bets are off when Michael reluctantly goes to work for a millionaire hip-hop/sk8r boy (and his hubba-hubba girlfriend). I know -- it sounds like your typical warmed over B-film setup, but this winning novel rises way above expectations, thanks to some colorful storytelling, Michael's darkly humorous first person narration and the unexpected camaraderie between him and his crew, a trio of endearingly loyal, battle-scarred misfits he brought back from Afghanistan, dousing the overused ex-vet trope in some much-needed humanity.

Hard-boiled with heart, anyone?MICHAEL SKELLIG



Taxi-Driving Eyes (and Limos Too!)

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. An earlier version of this review was published in Mystery Scene. Used with permission.

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