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. (goodreads.com)
I waffled a bit on requesting this through NetGalley but, obviously, I decided to go for it. It was the New Orleans setting that did me in more than anything and I’ve been liking Heather Graham books enough so I figured why not? I haven’t read the first two books in the Cafferty & Quinn series but considering I’ve been reading her books all sorts of out of order I doubted it would make a difference. It didn’t.
It starts off with a sort of supernatural bent and it strings the main murder mystery together but it’s ultimately very thin, to the point where I wouldn’t consider this story supernatural at all. Sure, it’s mentioned that Cafferty’s dad collected weird objects and it’s mentioned repeatedly at the store she owns houses a bunch of objects in the basement that could be cursed or possessed or other ghostly things but none of that is actually seen. This serial killer keeps attacking people because of a supposed special saxophone but the way the story’s wrapped up it’s largely irrelevant and there’s no supernatural aspect to speak of. It was kind of a disappointment.
I found myself bored a lot with the story. New Orleans wasn’t its own character in the book like settings can be in other Graham novels and that was a disappointment too. I like her Krewe books because she makes the place come alive. I didn’t feel that here and I felt let down.
The dialogue was a bit bland too. Very stock, a bit too neat in exchange, making the characters monotonous and their interactions Lifetime movie awkward. Just very stilted, unnatural and a bit too set up. I felt myself cringe a bunch of times as the characters were interacting because it just didn’t feel like a natural flow of dialogue.
The sex scenes, I’m not sure why they’re in there. I have no doubt I can imagine that an adult couple has sex but the act of coupling is glossed over but there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it. It’s definitely a constant thing I’ve found in Graham novels that she wants to include a hint of sex to demonstrate that the characters can screw but it’s largely irrelevant to the plot. It doesn’t really do anything for the characters involved; I don’t find their relationship deeper or more meaningful. They like to bang. Most humans do. I mean I don’t need explicit sex scenes all the time but these start off bordering on hot then the scene ends in the next sentence as they’re lying naked with each other in the bed. I don’t know. It bugs me. If you’re intent on giving me a sex scene then give me a sex scene. Make me FEEL it. But these just feel thrown in there, they’re not hot, they’re not intense, they’re over and done with and mean nothing to the story. Since it’s not about Cafferty and Quinn’s relationship (although there is tension between the two, the story isn’t about them) there’s no need to have it there as it is.
Overall this book was meh. I didn’t hate it but I certainly didn’t like it. I didn’t care for any of the characters, all of their interactions were gawky and forced, the supernatural element is nonexistent and I don’t know why it’s even insinuated for how irrelevant it is. Yes, it plays into the motive behind the murders and I did like how that line of the story ended but at the beginning there was a supernatural element involved and then never again. I don’t know why that was there at all. I just didn’t feel involved with the book. It was talking a story at me instead of making sure I was part of it. I have quite a few of Graham’s older works piled up and ready to read and this hasn’t turned me off of her writing; I just wasn’t thrilled with this book. Maybe the first book in this particular series would be more my style with a heavier supernatural element to it but I’m not going to tackle it too soon.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.