“1953 was a bad year for me: I died.” The narrator opened this way in an episode of the Goon Show, but then went on to explain that the night’s episode wasn’t about him.
In Priest’s second digital-release novel, Dual, the episode is about the dead narrator. And not in the usual “the narrator will now relate how they came to get killed, in flashback” sense either. The story moves forwards, and the dead guy plays omniscient 3rd person narrator, occasionally calling characters out on their BS. (Don’t worry about spoilers, none of the stuff I’m talking about here goes beyond “book jacket summary” revelations.)
Like Zion, it’s a gritty crime drama set in New York City and its surroundings, with characters who are all broken, flawed, or horrible in some way. Pegged to its original time-of-conception in 1994 by plot-important historical events, it’s a little more anachronistic than Zion was, but rarely to the point you’d really notice unless things like people extending the antennae on their cellphones bug you.
The Haitian origins of the main suspects (just because the narrator is the dead guy doesn’t mean he tells us who killed him right away!) are played up for both mundane and supernatural aspects. The generally realistic tone of the novel would normally make me assume (at my current position around the 40% mark of the story) that old man Witherspoon’s mask would be pulled off in the endgame and all the talk about loa and houngans would be just people being superstitious.
But, you know, DEAD GUY IS NARRATING. So all bets are off when it comes to the hoodoo.
So far, so good. (Warning: certain scenes are of a graphic sexual nature, probably not something you want to read when strangers or kids could read over your shoulder.)