BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review and Quote-Tastic: The Dead Play On by Heather Graham

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Series: Cafferty & Quinn #3
Format Read: eGalley
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe* | Barnes & Noble |
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

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.

*A slightly different version of this review first appeared at Romance at Random*

Bea's Thoughts:

I’ve read Graham off and on for years but hadn’t yet picked up the first two books in this series. I did read a short story in the anthology “FaceOff” that piqued my interest in this series and jumped at the chance to read this one. Although I jumped in at the third book I had little trouble understanding the characters or events. 

Set in New Orleans, Dani and Michael hunt down magical objects, cursed objects. At times, the book reminded of the 80’s TV show “Friday the 13th: The Series” where a young man and woman, aided by a middle-aged man hunted down cursed objects. The set up for Graham’s series has a vibe that strongly recalls that TV show. Since I liked that show, I easily slid into this story. Graham is not overt with magic and paranormal occurrences but the question is always there, could this be magic? Can an object be possessed? Are ghosts real? What role do our expectations play? Do they alter reality? How accurate are our memories? She keeps you guessing as odd events occur and logical explanations are offered by some characters and magical ones by others. What’s real and what’s not? 

Occasionally Danni and Quinn’s relationship veers into sticky-sweet, too-good-to-be true but mostly it’s real and heartfelt and believable. They love each other but sometimes love isn’t enough and while they argue and have disagreements, they also work through it, put in the effort. I love a love story where it’s more than just falling in love but also about staying in love and staying together. Danni and Quinn have a strong relationship that gets tested when they disagree, most especially about whether or not Danni can take care of herself. Quinn goes all macho “Me Tarzan, you Jane” on her and she does not appreciate it one bit. Quinn battles between her need to be independent and not be smothered and his need to protect her and care for her:

                He didn’t need to write to anyone about Danni. He loved her. What he had to do was learn to let her stand on her own, to take on the role she had been born for. 

One of my favorite parts was how Graham weaves in different religious beliefs and treats them all with respect. So a friend of theirs who is a Catholic priest is quite comfortable with another friend of theirs who is a voodoo priestess. It’s all easy and natural and no big deal.

All of Graham’s characters are distinct and vivid, there’s no danger of mixing them up. Although there were a lot of characters, I had no trouble keeping them straight. The mystery kept me guessing, I was never quite sure what would happen or what the next twist would be. The identity of the killer was a surprise. I had considered that possibility, then discarded it as unlikely. Hah! She fooled me. 

“The Dead Play On” is a rich, vibrant story, full of love for New Orleans and for music, that kept me reading to see what would happen next.

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This was one of my favorite quotes in the book. My kind of priest. :)

“Lovely,” he said.” I can have a word with a few of those crazy people who carry signs saying ‘God hates this one’ or ‘Christ hates that one.’ I’ve been waiting for an opportune moment. I’m going to slip right up beside them, collar and all, and tell them, “Excuse me, my child, but God and I just had a lovely conversation, and He’s just fine with whoever, but He has a slight problem with you.” “


  1. Great review. I really love this author but have only read her of these days I will get back to reading her. Great quote too!! :)

    1. I don't think I've read any of her historicals but I'm not a fan of historicals.

  2. I've never read one of her books, which is so odd because I know for a fact I'd enjoy them. I'll have to do something about it and soon. Besides, that quote is hilarious.

  3. I love the quote from the Priest. He's such a great character! I liked this one but I do enjoy the Krewe series more. Great review!

    1. Thanks! I prefer the Krewe books too but I'll read more in this series.

  4. I love that quote, too! You've described the tone as well as the content of the book in a way that really makes me want to read it. [nods] Yup, this series is going on the TBR list, even if it is already way too long.

    1. Those TBR piles just keep breeding, don't tthey? :D

  5. One day I'll have to give hers a try. I know a couple of yall who enjoy her. One day. One day.

    1. One day, when you have read your entire TBR pile. :)


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