I'm going to start this review in a roundabout way, by looking at the Kevin Bacon film "Stir of Echoes", which came to mind as I read this book. I don't think it's a great film, but I always watch it if it's on. Why? Because it has moments of greatness, moments of pure supernatural dread when the mysterious feels like it's just about to reach out and grab you. During those moments, that film is palpably chilling.
And I bring that up because "Dusk and Shiver" gave me that same palpable chill; but where "Stir of Echoes" had it in moments, this collection has the chill throughout. As I read it, I worried what I might touch if I weren't careful.
Because that is Remy Martin's gift: he touches things, and he reads their past, and sometimes a little of their future. He's a psychometrist, a reader of emotional echoes. And while he thinks this is more of a curse, his REAL curse is this: he can't let well enough alone, and he can't let injustice go unrevealed. When he touches these echoes of horror, he could easily run away. He knows he should. But instead he's compelled to run toward them and find out what lies behind the echoes.
And what lies behind is human weakness and venality. There are villains here, but there are no grand villainous masterminds. Instead, there are weak, petty people who let their weakness seduce them step by step from small, careless evil into dark, tangled traps.
In the first story, "Til Human Voices Wake Us", we meet Remy as he investigates a string of strange killings. But is he looking for a killer, or a victim?
In the second story, "Dusk and Shiver", Remy has a visit from a former client turned zombie; and thus he find himself in a twisted family tragedy that he unwittingly played a part in.
In the third story, "Flashover", Remy's client is an unwilling arsonist. He must find why who compels her to burn down seemingly random homes. This story is different from the other two in that Remy has found a sense of humor. Amid their darkness, there were moments of humor in the other two stories; but this one literally had me laughing out loud -- when it didn't have me shivering in dread.
In my last month of reading, this collection is the one bright star that shines above the rest. I hope we see more Remy Pigeon stories!