Wednesday 17 June 2020

Past Presence by Nicole Bross

Today I finished Past Presence, the debut novel from author Nicole Bross.

Audrey Eames is happy living the wanderer's life. After a near-death experience in her teens, Audrey can see people's past lives whenever her skin touches theirs, and afraid of being labeled delusional, she's never stayed in one place too long or made any deep connections.

So when Audrey's estranged aunt dies and leaves her the historic Soberly Inn and Public House on the scenic Oregon coast, Audrey wants nothing to do with it. She's determined to sell the inn and leave town before someone discovers the power she's been hiding from the world, but clauses in her aunt's will seem to block her at every turn.

Yet once ensconced in Soberly's small town life, the people-particularly the inn's bartender, Kellen Greene-start to grow on her, and she begins to feel that maybe she's finally found a place of her own. As accepting as the townspeople seem, Audrey fears their reactions-and Kellen's rejection-and decides to keep her visions a secret. But all is not well in Soberly. Soon after Audrey arrives, people in town start dying in the same manner as in their past lives-but in this lifetime it's murder. Audrey vows to use her gift to find the murderer and protect the people she loves-before it's too late.

Wow, it's such an interesting concept. Time travel but only in the mind of the Audrey who sees peoples past lives but only in short snippets. The story is well woven and descriptive. Audrey is very easy to like, as is Kellen. It's not only told in first person but done in present tense, which is so hard to do successfully. Bross did an excellent job in doing so.

It's not hard to see why it was a finalist for the 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards Best First Crime Novel!

Nicole Bross is an author from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she lives with her husband, two children and one very large orange cat. When she’s not writing or working as the editor of a magazine, she can be found curled up with a book, messing around with her ever-expanding collection of manual typewriters or in the departures lounge of the airport at the beginning of another adventure. Past Presence is her debut novel.

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