Book Review: Waking the Dead by Heather Graham

18246288Title: Waking the Dead

Author: Heather Graham

Genre: Mystery, Paranormal Mystery

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

They say a painting can have a life of its own…

In the case of Ghosts in the Mind by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that’s more than just an expression. This painting is reputed to come to life—and to bring death. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland during 1816, “the year without a summer.” That was when they all explored themes of horror and depravity in their art….

Now, almost two hundred years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death seems to follow.

Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are quickly drawn into the case. They begin to make connections between that summer in Switzerland and this spring in Louisiana. Danni, the owner of an eccentric antiques shop, and Quinn, a private detective, have discovered that they have separate but complementary talents when it comes to investigating unusual situations.

Trying to blend their personal relationship with the professional lives they’ve stumbled into, they learn how much they need each other. Especially as they confront this work of art—and evil. The people in the portrait might be dead, but something seems to wake them and free them to commit bloody crimes. Cafferty and Quinn must discover what that is. And they have to destroy it—before it destroys them.

I love Heather Graham’s books – most of the time. However, “Waking the Dead” was a tad disappointing for me. It wasn’t nearly half as scary as her “Krewe of Hunters” books, and the narrative dragged on through the middle part. The plot is very intriguing though – a painting, Ghosts in the Mind, is blamed for a series of murders. The painting itself looks innocent at first, but once one looks closer, the figures on the painting all have toys to kill people in their hands, and aren’t as innocent as they look. The painting was missing for a long time, and now it’s turned up, and what follows in its wake, are gruesome murders our main characters, Danielle Cafferty, and Michael Quinn, have to solve.

The main characters have interesting personalities. They’re very different, yet they match well together. Danni is calm, relaxed, intuitive, in tune with her own spirituality. Quinn is more down-to-earth, a hardboiled private detective who is as at home at a crime scene as he is in his own home. The whole plotline involving the painting was detailed, and intriguing.

What bothered me the most about this book, is how much they beat around the bush before they actually did something. Who is the villain? How will we catch him? There’s a lot of bouncing from one possible solution to the next to solve the case, which was annoying. When I thought they were on the right track, turned out it was something completely different. Some times this may add to the level of suspense for a book, but here it just made the plot drag on, and made the book at least a hundred pages longer than it should’ve been.

I did request Heather’s next book for review, because in general, she’s a great author, and I love how she mixes romance, ghosts, the paranormal and mystery into compelling stories. She missed the ball somewhat on Waking the Dead, but I won’t hold that against her. The premise was good, the history of the painting was very intriguing, and this book could’ve been great had it not dragged on for so long.

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