LET THE DEAD SLEEP by Heather Graham
LET THE DEAD SLEEP (Cafferty & Quinn Book1)
Author: Heather Graham
Rating: 4 out of 5
Format: ARC (Received copy for an honest review)
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Recommended Reading: AGE+ 18
Contains no spoilers
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I love mysteries, always have. For the most part they can be formulaic and it works when the story is good enough. This one followed a formula and the story was definitely intriguing, but it didn’t get a full 5 rating because I found it dragged in places and the end was wrapped up with long monologue style explanations. But if you ignore, what I like to call Scooby-Doo effect, (an ending that explains the mystery opposed to showing it), then this book has everything you look for in an adult mystery. It even throws in some paranormal elements and a couple passionate love scenes.
[note color=”#efe6e8″]SYNOPSIS: An object of desire? Or of fear? It was stolen from a New Orleans grave — the centuries-old bust of an evil man, a demonic man. It’s an object desired by collectors — and by those with wickedness in their hearts. One day, its current owner shows up at Danni Cafferty’s antiques shop on Royal Street, the shop she inherited from her father. But before Danni can buy the statue, it disappears, the owner is found dead…and Danni discovers that she’s inherited much more than she realized. In the store is a book filled with secret writing: instructions for defeating evil entities. She’d dismissed it as a curiosity…until the arrival of this statue, with its long history of evil and even longer trail of death. Michael Quinn, former cop and now private investigator, is a man with an unusual past. He believes that doing the right thing isn’t a job — it’s a way of life. And the right thing to do is find and destroy this object weighted with malevolent powers. He and Danni are drawn together in their search for the missing statue, following it through sultry New Orleans nights to hidden places in the French Quarter and secret ceremonies on abandoned plantations. Cafferty and Quinn already know that trust in others can be misplaced, that love can be temporary. And yet their connection is primal. Mesmerizing. They also know that their story won’t end when this case is closed and the dead rest in peace once again.[/note]
THE LOWDOWN: Heavy mystery, light paranormal and an endless list of interesting sub characters, this book has the makings of a great series written all over it (pardon the pun), especially since all the introductions are over. As I mention in my overall thoughts, the book drags a little, but most of the problem stemmed from firstbookitis. We have to get to know the characters, build a world in our minds and the writer obviously used this book to set up a series. Aside from my feelings of anticipation for the story to pick up, by the end I felt pumped and ready to read more.
I am not a fan of 3rd person omniscient POV’s and at first it frustrated me…a lot. However, once you get into the flow of the book and the mystery really ramps up, it becomes secondary to the impending secret. Graham captured New Orleans subculture and balanced the darkness with the light wonderfully. The characters are perfectly fleshed out and the relationships unfold well. I found myself falling a little for the lead male, who was strong, intelligent and resolved to make sure good overcomes evil. The female was not wishy-washy and I found her strength and intelligence a breath of fresh air. Seeing them grow together gave me hope for the series. Oh, before I forget the best character of all…Wolf. I will leave it at that…read it and you will love him as much as me.
My biggest issue with the story was the expository ending. It seemed to wrap up to quickly. When I saw that I was already at the 90% point (Kindle doesn’t always give page numbers) I thought, but nothing has even come close to being explained, I immediately knew the ending was going to be short lived and disappointing. Although the end didn’t fail to touch every unexplained element, it did answer most questions with a speech. I don’t like speeches, I like action. Not Stallone maniac-blow-up-everything-in-sight action, but forward movement. The end felt a little stagnant and I was a tad bit let down.
Then there was the mystical element, which I loved. The book delves into the Voodoo culture and how stigmas about religions change their true meanings, that we should be tolerant and informed before we dismiss. I equally loved that the powers some characters were gifted with. They weren’t over the top, just subtle magic. However, I did find some of the “bust” (you will understand once you read it) references to be a little too hokey. But that didn’t deter my overall feelings.
If you are a mystery/thriller buff who is looking for a possible new series, check this one out. Now that we are nearing the warmer seasons, I can safely recommend this as a decent beach read.