by Heather Graham
Series: Cafferty and Quinn #2
Genres: Paranormal, Mystery
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
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.
Waking the Dead is the second book in the Cafferty and Quinn mysteries by Heather Graham. We meet this duo in the first book, Let the Dead Sleep and I was excited to team up with them again. Set in New Orleans former police detective Michael Quinn and gifted shop owner Danielle Cafferty must uncover clues and protect the city from evil. Mini review: a thrilling mystery with a motley crew that drew me in and held me captive.
The summer of 1816, a Switzerland castle an exploration in horror . Artist Henry Sebastian Hubert paints his most famous piece surrounded by Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and others. Two hundred years later the painting arrives in New Orleans and strange, horrific deaths begin plague the city. Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn begin to connect current events to that summer in 1816. Can evil be stopped?
I am in love with the setting and set up for the overall plot arc of this series. Danielle a talented painter has inherited her father’s shop off Royal Street. She sells everything from baubles to antiques. After her father’s death, she discovered her father and former detective Michael Quinn often partnered in retrieving and destroying evil pieces of art. Now she works with Michael. The paranormal thread is a good one and when you mix in NO, a voodoo queen, a priest and a wolf it can only get interesting. Graham makes you believe in the supernatural and ratchets up the suspense.
In the summer of 1816, Hubert painted a vivid scene of a family and the colors draw you in but on closer inspection you quickly realize all is not what it seems. Eye witness reports in the city claim a fog appeared before leaving victims’ bludgeon to death, slashed with a sword and almost beheaded. Cafferty and Quinn need to stop a killer and that quest takes them to a creepy castle in Switzerland with a crypt. Graham did an excellent job of building the suspense as we learn more about the origin of the painting and that fateful summer. Together they must find the painting and track down the human who activated it. I love how Quinn and Cafferty interact, both are strong characters and we once again witness their relationship develop. Theirs is a slow-building romance, filled with trust, respect and tender moments of heat. The romance takes a back seat to the case at hand, keeping the swooning low but it has a genuine and realistic quality that is endearing. Quinn and Cafferty look to their friends to aid them, and Graham has created an interesting posse to surround them. Each plays an intricate part, and I loved learning more about them as Graham continues to develop these secondary characters.
Waking the Dead offered a fabulous mystery, and I enjoyed reading about this crime solving duo. Unlike her Krewe of Hunters series, the main couple is a constant in each novel. While each mystery can be read as a standalone, keep in mind the romantic thread is ongoing throughout the series.