Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review: Cemetery Dance

As you know, I'm not usually a fan of books featuring horror, zombies, cults, or voodoo, but this was an audio ARC I received from Hachette, and I went into it with an open mind. This was also the first book I'd read by this duo. It was an enjoyable story and the reading by Rene Auberjonois was fantastic. Each chapter was like a mini-story, each character was interesting, sometimes annoying, but always intriguing. You knew bad things were going to happen, but you were never quite sure what, or who was going to be involved. Warning: there are SOME SPOILERS here.

I assume from the book jacket that the two main characters, as well as the first victim, have been around for previous volumes in the series. Detective D'Agosta's rough edges were the perfect foil for Special Agent Prendergast's refined manner. I did find myself wondering how these two got together and what the history was (what FBI agent can afford a chaffeured Rolls Royce?), so I would not recommend this book without reading others in the series first. I especially liked Prendergast's language: his sentences and vocabulary were luxurious without being pompous.

The story concerns a murder where eye-witnesses swear the killer was someone who was already dead and buried. Later the first victim is seen to be the murderer of another woman …again committed in front of a room full of witnesses.

Add a cult of celibates who practice animal sacrifice living on an abandoned estate in the middle of a park in New York City. Add an obnoxious art collector/business man who uses his money and his lawyers to thumb his nose at authority.

There's the bumbling police commander (why do all these detective books these days show the top guys as less than competent?), and some other characters who obviously played some important part in Prendergast's past but we're left wondering what that past was.

I found the women in the story rather underwritten. On the one hand, there's Laura Hayward, a police Captain who doesn't seem to have anything to do but play the love interest for D'Agosta, until she does a 'wonder-woman' to try to rescue him. Then there's Nora Kelley, wife of the first victim in the story, who tries to stay out of the way, but who manages to become entangled. I really didn't like her too much from the first. Why would any woman leave her apartment in New York at midnite after a lovely 1st anniversary dinner to go pick up a cake at the bakery????? She couldn't have picked it up on her way home from work???? Or had it delivered???? And then it really stretched my imagination that as an archaeological expert who works with pottery shards, she knew how to set up and run a DNA analyzer.

In spite of my questions about the characters, the plot kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book. Even at the end, I was left wondering "what next?" I certainly will look for past and future books in this series, if for no other reason than to get some more perspective on the main characters.

1 comment:

  1. This is on my to be reviewed list.... I like your take on it and gives me a bit of a heads up. Thanks. I also like your blog layout. Classy.


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