No one understands the dark side of Savannah better than homicide detective Elise Sandburg. As an infant, she was thought to be the daughter of a famous root doctor--and was abandoned in an ancient Low Country cemetery. Growing up, she was haunted by her possible connection to the local Gullah culture--with its spells and voodoo. Now, however, there's a twisted killer on the loose, and the city is gripped by terror. Someone is using a substance that leaves its victims in a state that mimics death. As their bodies slip into an irreversible paralysis, their minds remain fully, shockingly awake.
BEFORE YOU WAKE UP DEAD
Step by step, Elise's relentless chase for the killer draws her straight back into the world she most fears. And now, to stop a murderer, she must confront the truth about her own past in ways she never could have imagined...
What I liked: As I said, Ms Frasier’s books I’ve read so far are different. First, they’re a bit darker than I’ve read in the past in this genre. I guess you could call it romantic suspense but the romance is all about hidden feelings. The leads, Elise Sandburg, and her new partner, Detective David Gould, are both fighting personal demons. I think this is what draws their feelings toward each other.
Play Dead is set in Savannah, Georgia and Ms Frasier does an excellent job with descriptions and explanations of the city and its undertones of mystery. She’s also not afraid to show the seamier side of the city which I found riveting. It’s not all candy and roses, and as a matter of fact, the background on Elise is a testament to that. She was abandoned as a baby in a cemetery and the rumors are she’s the daughter of a famous root doctor (voodoo and magic). Some of this culture sound similar to New Orleans but different enough to hold my interest.
Elise is divorced with an almost teenage daughter. Her daughter spends most of her time with her father due to the demands of Elise’s job. Elise is very dedicated and she’s a murder detective so….
Her new partner, David Gould, is a recent addition to the Savannah homicide division. You know he has a storied past but Ms Frasier is going to feed it to you a piece at a time. I will say this, both are dedicated to the job and I felt like it was the only thing keeping them grounded and moving. They both seem so sad.
I’m not going to reiterate the storyline as the synopsis gives you just enough to begin the story. The plot is important but one of my favorite things about Play Dead is, of course, the characters. All of them are complex and not paper cut-outs. They feel like real everyday people with problems they are struggling with. The chemistry between Elise and David feels like a living entity. I loved it!
Strata Luna, the infamous local Gullah (voodoo) woman who runs a house of ill repute is one of my favorite characters. She’s mysterious and no one wants to cross her. She also has a sad back story which just adds depth to her character.
What I didn’t like: The beginning was a bit slow but quickly picks up so don’t worry if you’re not immediately engaged. Ms Frasier is just laying the ground work for you to enjoy the story.
I used my Kindle Unlimited account to read/listen to Play Dead. That's right, the narration was free. That doesn't happen very often but I was glad it did in this case. Ms Ross does a good job with the narration but I really didn't care for her "male" voices. Personal opinion.
I was very surprised I became fascinated by this series and have since read the other books currently available.