‘Dead & Talking’ by Des Burkinshaw


If a ghost appeared from nowhere and ordered you to start solving crimes, what would you do? 

When a ghost shanghais Porter Norton, he just wants to put his head in his hands and have nothing to do with it.  Then he discovers he has to atone for a family curse that has seen all the males die at their own hands for five generations. 

The Gliss, the sarcastic spirit that rescues him, says he can now see and hear the dead – if he’s close to their remains. Porter has to use his unwelcome gift to clear up past injustices. Or else. 

Forced to investigate the murder of a WW1 British Tommy executed for spying in 1917, he begins to suspect the case has links to his own family history. Along the way, Porter enlists the help of a bickering group of misfits, who struggle to stay involved – because everyone knows, only fools believe in the supernatural. 

As Porter, The Gliss, and friends, get deeper into the explosive case, they discover their own lives and sanity are at stake. An evil from WW1 is pursuing them.


My Review

I read the synopsis for ‘Dead & Talking’ and it certainly intrigued me.  It sounded like the sort of book I would enjoy and so without further ado, I began to read.  Oh boy ‘Dead & Talking’ was certainly an interesting read and quite a bit different to what I had expected it to be.  I mean that in a positive way.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Dead & Talking’ but more about that in a bit.

It didn’t take me long at all to warm to Porter Norton and I began to feel sorry for him.  Legend has it that his family are cursed because a few generations of the male side of the family have taken their own lives.  Porter is the next in line.  He is a lawyer but something happens that leads to a death and potentially to Porter being struck off.   Nobody punishes Porter as much as he punishes himself.  Porter tries to take his own life but this is when The Gliss enters his life.   Porter doesn’t succeed and The Gliss ‘haunts’ him and urges him to investigate a death of a soldier who was executed for being a spy during the First World War.  The Gliss tells Porter that if he visits the grave of certain people, the deceased will talk to him.  Porter is initially dismissive about this but then he tries it and of course the deceased talks to him.  Porter is a bit freaked out about this.  I had to stifle a chuckle when I read a particular bit about him rolling around on a grave, whilst the horrified vicar looks on.  In a way I empathised with Porter and by the time I got to the end of the book I did feel as though he had become a friend of mine. I felt naturally defensive of him and there were a few times when I wanted to jump inside the pages of the book to give him a hug or to just be there for him.

Oh my, ‘Dead & Talking’ was definitely my kind of read.  It took me a little while to get into the story but then when I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading.  The book seemed to develop a hold over me and I was completely under its spell.  I was addicted to this book and if I had to put the book down for any reason then I would immediately look forward to being able to pick the book up again.   I soon raced through the story and binge read it over the course of a day.  The pages turned increasingly quickly as my desperation to find out how the story panned out increased.

‘Dead & Talking’ appealed to me on so many different levels.  The fact that Porter talks about his family being cursed struck a chord with me.  So legend has it, my own family has a curse hanging around its neck but the alleged ‘curse’ isn’t as severe as the one that affects Porter and his family.  I also liked the fact that the story explores ‘the other side’ as it were.  I believe in the ‘other side’ and I firmly believe that when you lose a loved one, they are still around you but you can’t see them.  Slightly different to the storyline in the book but the principles are the same.  I like to think that my deceased loved ones are still around and I still talk to them as if they are stood or sat next to me.  That might sound weird to some but it makes sense to me.  Just to bore you a little bit more,  I am a bit psychic myself according to a clairvoyant.  I have had very vivid dreams about certain things happening and then a couple of days later what I dreamt about really did happen.

In my opinion, ‘Dead & Talking’ is very well written.  The author has created a story that will stick in my mind for a long time to come with memorable characters.  He draws you into the story pretty much from the first page onwards and you feel compelled to keep reading.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.  The book is written using two different timelines.  One timeline is from the present day and follows Porter and The Gliss as they go about their business and the other timeline describes events as they happened during the First World War.  I thought that this was a clever way of telling the story.  The two timelines interlink really well and the story flows seamlessly.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Dead & Talking’ and I would most definitely recommend this book to other readers.  I cant’ wait to read more from Des Burkinshaw.  Here’s hoping that we don’t have too long to wait.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

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