Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: Waking the Dead by Heather Graham

Title: Waking the Dead
Author: Heather Graham
Source: Library

From Graham's website:

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.

My Thoughts:

Once again, Graham has delivered a book that you can run away to when you to need a moment to yourself to unwind and relax. That being said, there are definitely some parts of this book that will give you the chills or make you look over your shoulder while reading it, especially if you are home alone at the time.

Michael Quinn and Dani Cafferty are reunited again in this book. It is the second in the Cafferty and Quinn series, the first book being Let the Dead Sleep. This time, the mystery involves a creepy painting on which are painted people in various murderous stages. A man with a gun behind his back, a kid with a toy sized guillotine chopping the head off of a doll who is screaming, among others.This painting was also said to have been painted when the artist was trying to impress the group of Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. We have all heard the origins of Frankenstein; this book builds on that story.

Graham references the Year Without a Summer in this book - it is the time in which this macabre yet creative group got together, and the painting was created in Waking the Dead. I knew that one summer, these literary geniuses got together and challenged each other to write scary stories, to match the weather outside. But I did not realize that this was a historical weather event, that there was a pervasive gloom across the globe, blocking the sun and causing snow in June, and famine. It was more than 100 years later that the cause was discovered: the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia. The Mount Tambora eruption is the worst volcanic eruption in the last 10,000 years - and those that lived through it (outside of the ones who were directly there) had no idea what was going on, why their worlds were so affected. I thought that this backstory was a great place for Graham to begin this book. Mysterious and I am sure some thought it was the end of days, it would have been the perfect environment for horror to breed in.

When this painting is moved to New Orleans, people start dying. Quinn and Cafferty are quick to figure out what is going on and what needs to be done, and do their best to save lives and to stop the murders entirely. There are even a few trips to Switzerland, to a creepy old mansion with a crypt.

My only issue is that something is missing in the relationship between Cafferty and Quinn. The basic formula is there for us to read, but I am not feeling a real connection between these two. Its almost there, but not quite. I feel more of a connection between Dani and Wolf, the dog, and Quinn and Wolf, than I do between Dani and Michael. And Wolf was definitely not in this book enough for me; poor guy was being shuffled around and left behind constantly. I of course am terrified every book that something will happen to him. Don't fear this book for that reason, if you are like me.

This book is pure escapism with a shot of fear. If you like to relax while reading a thriller supernatural mystery, this book is definitely for you. I know that I enjoyed it!


  1. Dangit! LOL I really, really need to read her books. This review REALLY makes me want to!

    1. Lol! Thanks! :) They are super fun. Not ground breaking literature, but fun, and we all need that. :)

  2. I know I'm always wary of the good dog character. No one can ever leave the good dog alone.

    1. No they can't! There is a website for that, for movies only though. We need one for books now!


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