Author: Anne Frasier
Genre: Supernatural mystery
Length: ~300 pages each
Where Bethany’s copies came from: Play Dead — Indianapolis Public Library; Stay Dead — ARC from Anne Frasier
Plot Basics: Elise Sandburg is a detective in Savannah and the daughter of legendary root doctor Jackson Sweet. But when she was abandoned as a child, she turned away from her hoodoo heritage. Now, in two separate cases, Elise’s past is threatening to engulf her, forcing her to look at who she is and what she thinks she owes the city of Savannah and how to save herself and her mysterious partner, David Gould.
Banter Points: I tore through these two books, back to back, in about four days. For about 30 seconds after finishing “Play Dead” I considered reading something in between them and then dismissed that for the silly idea it was.
It’s hard to define what makes a book “unput-down-able,” but the more I’m a reader, the more I’m convinced that it’s about the reader. These two books pushed all the right buttons for me. Both of the main characters, Elise and David, are haunted by their pasts and have baggage that absolutely affects how they look at the world and their work. Elise’s heritage in Savannah’s mystical legends of root doctors and spells fuels her skepticism. David’s tragic family losses make him vulnerable for belief in those things. Their character flaws were essential to the plots as well. They were poised as characters to be able to deal with the plot, but at personal cost.
Also, in addition to having good characters, the plots moved along well. Both were built around people who should be dead not being dead, tapping into Elise’s family history of hoodoo. The books had a bit of that X-Files quality to them of good police work on top of cases that didn’t make any sense. I loved the blend of the mystery with the supernatural.
Bummer Points: Play Dead included the (for me) loathed killer-POV chapters, but Stay Dead did not (yay!) Some of the minor characters read a little flat to me (like the police major and the crime scene investigators) but they served their functions in the story.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Stay Dead releases on April 22 (according to Amazon) which should give you enough time to read Play Dead while you wait for it.