SPOILERS POSSIBLE SPOILERS POSSIBLE SPOILERS POSSIBLE
Zoe Martinique is a private investigator with a difference, she has the ability to travel outside of her body - an ability she uses to find out information she wouldn't otherwise have access to. However, one night, things go seriously wrong when she witnesses a murder, worse still, the killer is also a Traveler and tries to pursue her. Now it's a race against time, as Zoe tries to help the detective investigating the case, whilst staying one step ahead of the bad guys.
Bear with the first few pages where Zoe introduces herself and explains the mechanics of astral travel because once the story gets going you're in for a wild ride. Wraith is written in a first person, stream of consciousness style that won't be for everybody - we get to hear every thought that passes through Zoe's head without benefit of a filter. But by chapter 7 I've got a smile on my face and am running with the story. I don't want to put the book down.
As well as the mystery of the murder and why the killer can see Zoe (be warned it gets complicated so you'll need to concentrate), we get to eavesdrop on the various relationships in Zoe's life. This book has one of the most realistic mother/daughter relationships I've read. To begin with it seems very fraught, with the inevitable frictions that such close relationships can develop, but eventually you see that there is an incredibly deep love between the two characters - this made the book for me.
Zoe does take stupid risks, a fact for which she is somewhat apologetic - usually after the fact, with promises to herself not to repeat such mistakes in future. Unlike some TSTL heroines I think there is a valid reason for her behaviour. She first astral projects during a brutal attack which leaves her in a coma. So maybe she feels that if she didn't continue to behave as she wanted to - even when she knows she's taking a risk - that she would be denying a part of herself. But sometimes she should! Hopefully by the end of this book she's learnt that lesson - somehow I doubt it.
I'm going to take a moment here to mention the rape scene, as I know a couple of people who may decide this book is not for them because of this. I don't believe the scene is gratuitous in the slightest, it is necessary to the plot because it's the first time Zoe leaves her body. However, it is disturbing and unpleasant - I had already decided as I was reading it how it was going to go, when things suddenly changed I was broadsided. And at that moment I connected with the character (with Zoe) which made it even harder to read. The scene which follows in the hospital between Zoe and her mother was so well written, it's when you as a reader I think for the first time see Zoe acknowledge how much her mother cares for her.
If I had to be picky there are a couple of places where I wasn't 100% sure of what was going on - though eventually I think I understood the hierarchy of phantasm, symbiont and Wraith. Please don't ask me to explain it though :). And for some reason whenever Zoe fancies someone her thighs swell! I think I understand what was being conveyed but it did bring to mind images of She-Hulk and ripping trousers. Also the epilogue (which takes place two weeks after the main story concludes), gives Wraith a slightly strange ending, but that may be a more subjective comment. I'd be interested to hear what other people thought. Could be I was just gutted that there wasn't an excerpt for the next book. :(
However, when the story is this original and the characters and dialogue are so well written, such minor things are easily forgiven and forgotten. There are several dangling plot threads that need tying up, so my fingers are crossed that this isn't the last we've heard from Zoe Martinique. I want to know what trouble she's going to get herself into next.