Author: Tara East
Publication Date: 5 November, 2019
Copy: Courtesy of the Author

I am not really sure where to start with this one, so I’m going to start with the weird associations that go on in my head sometimes and tell you the one thing I don’t like about this book…. I don’t like the title. A song came on the radio in the car one day last week and now every single time I think of the book I start hearing “Every Time She Cries” by John Farnham and Human Nature. I can’t explain it, but it did get a little frustrating.

My hope for this one is that it is actually the beginning of a series because I think there is a fantastic foundation for a long running series featuring the main character, and I almost think the ending sets it up for a sequel… I live in hope anyway. The heroine is certainly a character I would follow.

Every Time He Dies is part police procedural, part outlaw bikie gang and part paranormal. It was an intriguing premise and I definitely think that East has pulled it off.

Daphne Lawrence has had a rough couple of years, she’s been living a pretty solitary life since the accident that took the life of her fiancé a year and a half ago. She hasn’t really made new friends since her move up the coast from Brisbane and she’s okay with that, she hasn’t moved on from her grief and she certainly hasn’t dealt with it.

In another life Daphne (Daff) was studying forensic toxicology, she had six months left of her degree when the accident changed the entire course of her life. Instead of remaining on that course Daff uses her degree as the starting point for an apprenticeship in embalming.

Daff’s fiancé was a police officer and so is her estranged father, I guess this had a lot to do with her decision to change career paths and stay away from the force.

Every Time He Dies is a gritty crime tale but it has moments of real humour which kept it relatively light. There were some twists that I really didn’t see coming and some that were a little more predictable.

We have two character stories weaving their way towards the ties that connect them; Daff and her estranged father.

Daff is deeply rooted in science; she believes only what she can see, and sometimes what can be confirmed by someone else being able to see too. She has no faith in the hippie psychic claptrap her best friend Peta believes in, but sometimes it doesn’t matter what you believe if the spirits believe in you.

Peta convinces Daff, against her better judgement, to attend a guided meditation on the beach with her one evening and creates yet another path for her life. Early into the meditation Daff tunes out the circle leader and focuses on the crackle of the fire while enjoying the inactivity. She has a daydream that throws her off balance and then while taking a walk on the beach afterwards she comes across a watch that looks eerily familiar; unable to leave it there in the sand she picks it up and takes it with her.

The watch has an earthbound sprit attached to it, a spirit who has no memory of who he was, or why he is still hanging around. Daff does all she can to explain it away as a hallucination but when things take another step into la-la land while she’s at work it’s definitely time to explore the possibility that this is really happening.

Daff works as an embalmer so she is in contact with the lifeless bodies of the dead all of the time, if she’s going to have visions it is going to make her worklife really interesting. The two she has to work on directly after the meditation are connected to the Road Dogs outlaw motorcycle club, a club that her estranged father has been working on trying to bring down for years. It seems that Daff may need to reach out to her father, even if it is the last thing she wants to do.

It would be easy to get spoilery, and I’m starting to get rambly so I think now is probably the time to start wrapping up.

I loved the character development in Every Time He Dies and though there isn’t a shortage of crime drama with a paranormal theme and psychic helpers I think East has brought an original spin to the premise in her debut.

I think the writing is tight, the humour and dialogue is engaging and the characters are ones you can connect with. There is a lot going on within the different story arcs and it’s all brought together quite nicely.

There were a few whys left at the end that I didn’t find were properly resolved but I may have missed something.

I love that by the end of the book Daff is incorporating her new skills into her everyday work and she is rebuilding relationships. I believe this could go on to become a successful series and I would definitely follow it.

Thanks for an entertaining read, I’ll be sure to keep my eye out for more.