Not Dead Enough is a milestone book in J. M. Redmann’s Micky Knight mystery series: book ten! Like all the other novels in the series, Not Dead Enough offers fresh character insight, a compelling mystery, and addictive pacing. If you haven’t met Micky Knight yet, this book is a perfect place to jump in – but I suspect you will want to go back to the beginning of the series once this latest is experienced.
Micky Knight is a middle-aged lesbian private investigator working in her hometown of New Orleans. Micky also happens to be one of the most relatable characters in series crime fiction. Every reader who has watched her mature over the course of these novels will remember moments and situations that reflect back on their own real world lives. For example, besides the focal mystery in Not Dead Enough, this book also finds Micky learning to navigate the challenges of sharing a core group of friends with her ex-girlfriend. How one maintains those relationships without letting the stress and anger of the breakup taint every interaction is something everyone can relate to. The constant dread of running into her ex at a social engagement hovers over Micky, even as this new case continues to demand more and more of her time.
Some longtime fans are still bitter about Redmann’s decision to split up Micky and Cordelia, but as the subsequent novels demonstrate, these characters have changed both because of/and despite their relationship and fissures were inevitable. For me, this development has added another layer to Micky’s personality, so while I have no idea what the future holds, it is hard to fault the breakup in terms of character arc, reflection of the real world, and seismic reverberations.
As for the mystery, Not Dead Enough also succeeds on that level. When Micky is approached by a woman who would like help locating her missing sister, it seems like an easy enough job to help pay the mounting bills; but when that woman (or her doppelganger) turns up at the morgue, Micky realizes there is something much more complicated going on. This is further confirmed when Cordelia’s cousin, Karen Holloway, shows up at Micky’s office. As a realtor, Karen has legal papers from a recent buyer who has vanished, papers that list Micky Knight’s name as an extra contact. The only trouble is, Micky has no idea who this woman is – but she does know she looks an awful lot like the woman who is currently in lying in the morgue. Is it her client or her client’s sister? And what the hell is going on?
In terms of disclosure, I should say that there is minor character in Not Dead Enough who was named after me. This has had not influences on my review and while I would like to claim otherwise, Kristopher Zgorski – or Red as he comes to be known – doesn’t provide Micky with the vital clue that helps her to solve the case. Darn!
J. M. Redmann brings New Orleans to life with her authentic mentions of iconic locales, delicious food, and the unique vibe of this unforgettable city. The plot of Not Dead Enough eventually comes around to the Mafia element that plays a part in this history of the Big Easy. Fentanyl distribution and other unsavory behaviors are also woven into this complex case. Through it all, Micky Knight continues to impress. Sure she makes mistakes – both professional and personal – but she remains a character readers can champion and this book proves just how resilient Micky is. It will be exciting to see where J. M. Redmann takes her as she heads toward a dozen novels in this first-class series.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.