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Short Stories 365:84

I first "met" Kfir Luzzatto through The Harrow Press, where I saw the call for submissions for Mortis Operandi which called for tales from my favourite theme, paranormal, mixed with investigators. I love a paranormal tale (in fact, I just finished Enchanting Lily today, by Anjalee Banerjee which was a lovely romantic paranormal story, but I digress...)

Where was I? Right. Paranormal stories, my love thereof. Also mysteries.

Way back when I was trying to come up with something for Men of the Mean Streets I happened to catch "Cast a Deadly Spell," on the movie channel, and I knew I was going to aim for a kind of magical-laced PI story with a sort of gritty and sideways-amusing tone. Whether or not I succeeded I'll leave up to you, but today's story just hit exactly that tone, and I loved it.

"Phantom Lover," by Kfir Luzzatto

This story takes the snidely humorous private detective story and turns it a bit on its head via a lady of the night who happens also to be a little less than alive (but business is still good, thanks). Luzzatto's detective, Dave Callaghan, is hired to help a young - and very wealthy - wife ensure that her husband doesn't waste away in the arms of the ghostly woman of the night. But sometimes - well, in Dave Callaghan's life, it seems like always - things aren't exactly what they seem.

The tone of the tale is spot-on: amusing, quick with the snark, and yet still containing that dark thread that keeps it rooted in the noir tradition it's building upon. I definitely want more Callaghan.

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