Series: Quinn & Cafferty #2
Published by Harlequin on March 25, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Sexual Content: Several sex scenes
Reviewed by: Libbie
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.
Those who spent years every Thursday with Elaine Benis will understand my fervent wish that she’d had a hand editing WAKING THE DEAD. Something about the use of exclamation points almost makes it inevitable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind them in moderation – but that unfortunate habit carried over from the first novel. Since I can’t help reading emphasis when I see them, it distracted.
The story itself is solid enough. I was unpleasantly reminded of Young Adult novel The Fine Art of Truth or Dare in the amount of time and book space spent fleshing out the life and career of a made up artist. Yes, the painting was integral to WAKING THE DEAD, but his anecdotal life stories as well as those of past murderers didn’t add to the story. Stephen King can make that work…most of the time. In this story, it just felt like filler. Just as two trips to Geneva in a week felt like an unnecessary drawing out of the climax.
I did still enjoy reading about Quinn and Danni. Danni’s sleep walking and sleep-painting continues to intrigue me and that carried over from the Let the Dead Sleep, but Quinn’s ability (which I’m still trying to figure out) seems to have dropped off in WAKING THE DEAD. Not sure if that was intentional or if the plot in this book just didn’t seem to lend itself to his “hypersenses.” Something I didn’t really like was the misdirection over their relationship at the end of the first book – them stating that they needed to slow things down. If that had continued into this book, fine. But it didn’t. Outside of a mentioned three-week separation that happened in the interim between both books, they didn’t waste a whole lot of time going fast again.
The main thing about WAKING THE DEAD that keeps me from bumping the rating up is that apart from a haunted painting and Danni’s sleep painting, it doesn’t have an urban fantasy feel to it. Meaning, with those elements taken out, the story would still be as solid. It is a good read and I’m sure there are plenty that will enjoy it, but it didn’t push many of my buttons and it was a book I finished, but not a series I’ll continue.Series Titles:
- Let the Dead Sleep
- Waking the Dead