Pure by Jo Perry
Caught in a pincer movement between the sudden death of Evelyn (her favourite aunt) and the Corona virus, Ascher Lieb finds herself unexpectedly locked down in her aunt’s retirement community with only Evelyn’s grief-stricken dog Freddie for company.
As the world tumbles down into a pandemic shaped rabbit-hole Ascher is wracked with guilt that her aunt was buried without the Jewish burial rights of purification.
In order to atone for this dereliction of familial duty, Ascher – in her own words ‘a profane, unobservant, atheist Jew, frequent liar and grieving loser’ –volunteers to become the newest member of ValleyHaverim Chevra Kadisha, a Jewish burial society on-call twenty-four-seven during lockdown and performing Mitzvot at no cost to the bereaved.
What follows is a journey through the insanity of lockdown in Los Angeles as Ascher attempts to bring peace to a troubled soul, and perhaps in the end redemption for herself.
This novel is everything.
In the hands of a lesser-writer a novel set in the time of covid could lead to a cliché ridden trope-fest, but instead with the skill and grace we’ve come to expect from Jo Perry she has delivered a book that is wise and beautiful and uplifting.
In our opinion with Pure, Jo Perry has surpassed even her own high-bar and written the finest novel of her career to date – but don’t take our word for it – here’s what some of her fellow writers say…
Praise for Pure
"Faultlessly imagined and beautifully written, this is one of the best novels I've read all year." –Timothy Hallinan, author of the acclaimed Simeon Grist series
"Pure is an immersive, twisting and turning metaphysical murder mystery set in the L.A. of 2020 with its Covid lockdowns, conspiracy theories and ethnic hatreds. Highly recommended." –Seth Lynch, author of the 3rd Republic mysteries.
Perry’s mysteries never fail to mesmerize...With Pure she’s outdone herself..." –Jeffrey Siger, author of the celebrated Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis novels
"Jo Perry's Pure is a beautiful story you will savor. Ascher's journey, a fusion of dark and light and mystifying gray, is compelling all along the way. Set against the backdrop of Covid, Pure poignantly explores solitude in a way that transcends this pandemic and makes us think about the loneliness we carry through our lives. Ghosts may be the loneliness of our hearts, or they be the chaperones of our destiny; the spiritual inhabits Perry's novel as she deftly camouflages mystery against themes of grief, guilt, love and reconciliation. The mystery will get under your skin, for sure, but the humanity of this novel will resonate far beyond the page." –Steven Cooper, journalist and author of the Gus Parker and Alex Wills series.