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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Dead Play On by Heather Graham

The Dead Play On is my first Heather Graham. I've always meant to try her, as my mom always loved her books, back when she wrote historical. I never got around to it (you know how that is, right?) until Katherine mentioned this one in one of her posts. I decided that my love of books set in New Orleans and my desire to try something new (new author, new genre- romantic suspense) was good enough reason.

Here's the summary.

Play a song for me… 

Musicians are being murdered in New Orleans. But Arnie Watson apparently died by his own hand. When Tyler Anderson plays the saxophone he inherited from Arnie, a soldier and musician who died soon after his return, he believes he sees visions of his friend's life—and death. He becomes convinced Arnie was murdered and that the instrument had something to do with whatever happened, and with whatever's happening all over the city… 

Tyler knows his theory sounds crazy to the police, so he approaches Danni Cafferty, hoping she and Michael Quinn will find out what the cops couldn't. Or wouldn't. After all, Cafferty and Quinn have become famous for solving unusual crimes. 

They're partners in their personal lives, too. Quinn's a private investigator and Danni works with him. When they look into the case, they discover a secret lover of Arnie's and a history of jealousies and old hatreds that leads them back to the band Arnie once played with—and Tyler plays with now. 

They discover that sometimes, for some people, the line between passion and obsession is hard to draw. Only in uncovering the truth can they hope to save others—and themselves—from the deadly hands of a killer.

So was it worth the wait? Well, yes and no. While I very much enjoyed the plot, I have to say the writing did very little for me and I knew who-done-it well before 50%. Let's start with the writing. Graham is one of those writers (I say, based on my sample of one) who writes a sentence for every single action. He said. She said. She turned. He sat.  Longer sentences, but it was kind of like reading a play, and I hate to read plays.  Then, there are about 642 characters. I understand this, we have to hide the killer's identity as long as possible, but when all of them are doing step by step things, it gets tiring.

I also did not find the romance to be very believable. I liked Quinn and Danni well enough individually, but I didn't see any heat between them, despite their amazing ability to have sex on zero hours sleep. Every time they stepped into the bedroom one of them made an incredibly lame come on and suddenly all tiredness and stress was forgotten. I'd like to believe that I missed something by not starting at the beginning of the series, but their relationship should only be getting stronger.

I also wished there was a bit more of the paranormal aspect that is hinted at all the way through the book, but in reality, there was absolutely nothing paranormal about it at all. And there were so many loose ends- the cafe owner? Sharon? All that said, I did very much enjoy the New Orleans/ Bourbon Street setting and really wish I liked it enough to go back for more.


  1. I don't like that kind of writing either so I'll probably skip this one.

  2. Try The Hexed! The books I've read from the Krewe series were better written than this one so I don't know what was up with that. I liked The Hexed and there was much more paranormal in that plus it was set in Salem and there were witches! The Cursed was in Key West and the plot was great but the insta-love annoyed me in that one.


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