If you liked the first book in the Cafferty and Quinn series then you will be satisfied with Waking the Dead, the first sequel. But I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this series is still not the perfect blend of Angel and Castle that I hoped this paranormal crime fighter would be.
Like with the first book, Waking the Dead brings a haunted item down to New Orleans, this time in the form of a painting. That’s right, a painting. Laugh all you want, but it’s far more dubious than those creepy portraits with eyes that follow you around the room; this one somehow has the means of carrying out the murderous intentions behind those stalking eyes.
To combat this nefarious piece of art depicting the darker side of humanity, Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn are back to sexy up the paranormal detective world once more. Thank goodness all that antagonistic bickering before they finally just get together business ended with book one, so now all we have is the far less obnoxious coupling you would expect. Sexy time and showers abound once more, but that pesky painting, Ghosts in the Mind, gets in the way. Side note – don’t worry about forgetting the title of the painting, you will read it 800 times.
My complaint about the repetitive nature of the Let the Dead Sleep continues in Waking the Dead, but bright side, don’t freak out about the amount of times the characters think to themselves that Wolf would die for them in a heartbeat. Seriously, I was freaking out about that. Something repeated over and over again, at least when considering a statement like this, usually means that it is going to come up again, but honestly I think Heather Graham just wants to make sure that her readers do not have the opportunity to forget anything as she continues to unnecessarily repeat the unimportant facts.
A minor complaint sure, so let me give out a bigger one: everything is just too easy for the main characters on their quest to rid the world of the evil within this painting. As luck would have it, one of the first people to be victimized by the painting just so happens to be loaded, so she foots the bill for everything that is needed. You want a sandwich? She’s got it. Do you need electricity? She’s got it (no really, she’s got it). Do you need to travel half way across the world on a hunch in search of answers? Why not bring all of your friends!? She’s got it. Don’t get me wrong, I like a Scooby Gang as much as the next person (Buffy or Scooby Doo, take your pick), but why on earth are there so many people “necessary” to this story?
It is a strong possibility that the haunted item part of these stories will become a hindrance because it restricts the realm of possibility, or at least has up to this point. There is already a formula that the books in this series seems to be sticking to, and Graham will have her work cut out for her to keep things interesting. Here’s one tip I have for her in concern to what not to do: concluding a mystery with something completely out of left field is not satisfying to the reader. It did not work here. It will not work in the future.
As I said in my intro, Waking the Dead is a good enough read, but I would prefer these books to earn higher praise than this if I am to continue to stick with the series. This is a genre I love, but even that will only go so far.
Final grade: 3 out of 5 Follow @BewareOfTrees