A quirky travel agent who also has psychic talents is the star of “Flight Risk,” the stand alone sequel to “Grave Reservations” by Cherie Priest. These fast-paced and clever mysteries feature Leda Foley, the aforementioned travel agent whose paranormal abilities are sometimes an asset and sometimes a frustration. In this novel she continues working with Seattle Police Department detective Grady Merritt, who is well into middle age and lives with his teenage daughter. He still mourns the loss of his wife to cancer, and while he was skeptical about the paranormal in the first book, after being presented with clear data showing that Leda knew things about the future, he actually got her a contract with the police department as a consultant.
In this mystery, Priest gives us a twofer. Leda is asked to look into the disappearance of Robin Reddick, who was last seen with a fairly large bank deposit. She drives a bright orange vintage Volvo, so the fact that her car hasn’t been seen, nor has she used any of her credit cards, is worrisome to her brother and to her son. Her husband, on the other hand, doesn’t seem worried at all. Perhaps that’s because Paul Reddick, an English professor at the state university, is a complete slimeball. He has affairs with students on a yearly basis—a new student each year—and his son and brother-in-law despise him. He, also, is missing and no one is sure where he is.
In a strange coincidence, Grady and his daughter are searching for their dog, who was lost at the Mount Rainier park, and when he finally appears after several days on his own, he is carrying what is a partially decomposed man’s leg, shoe and sock still in place. Although Mount Rainier is several hours from Seattle, Grady coordinates with the local county officials to look into the case. And, of course, the leg belongs to the missing professor.
So now there are two missing people and lots of confusion about when exactly each of them disappeared. Where is the rest of Paul Reddick’s body? Where is Robin? And while few people actually liked Paul, Robin seems to have had few enemies. Her family does not believe she would take the money and abscond to parts unknown, even considering the problem of her philandering husband.
As in the first book, the interplay between Leda, Grady, and Leda’s best friend Niki lend much humor to the narrative. Priest manages to keep the humor flowing even when some of it is a darkly comic gruesome description about body parts. We get to know Grady more in this story and see how his relationship with Leda evolves. It’s certainly not a romantic relationship but rather a friendship, and it’s lovely to see how that grows. As the plot unfolds, Priest provides several possible culprits, and while there aren’t any shocking reveals, the novel is a solidly satisfying sequel.
This review was first posted on Bookreporter.com.