Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Dead Room.

Title/Author: The Dead Room by Heather Graham.

Narrator: Joyce Bean.

Genre: Supernatural thriller.

Publisher: Brilliance Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Joe Connolly.

Favorite quote: "I can only find anything real in me when it comes to you." ~Matt Connolly.

All in all: It was okay.

Synopsis: A year ago, archaeologist Leslie MacIntyre barely survived the explosion that took the life of her fiancé, Matt Connolly. In the long months since, she's slowly come to terms not only with her loss but with her unsettling new ability to communicate with ghosts, a dubious “gift” received in the wake of her own brush with death.

Now she's returned to lower Manhattan's historic Hastings House, site of the explosion, to conquer her fears and investigate a newly discovered burial ground. In this place restless spirits hold the secrets not only of past injustice but of a very real and very contemporary conspiracy with deadly designs on the city's women - including Leslie herself.

By night Matt visits her in dreams, warning her and offering clues to the truth, while by day she finds herself helped by - and attracted to - his flesh-and-blood cousin Joe. Torn by her feelings for both men, caught between the worlds of the living and the dead, Leslie struggles against the encroaching danger that threatens to overcome her. As she is drawn closer to the darkness at the heart of Hastings House, she must ultimately face the power of an evil mind, alone in a place where not even the men she love can save her.

My Thoughts: I feel bad because again, I met the author and found her very kind, but this book wasn't for me.  First off the way it starts includes a lot of explanation to set the story and characters up.  I was told the about the relationship between Leslie, the protagonist and her fiancé Matt, and their backgrounds together. I think this could have been left out. Their romance is addressed throughout the book via conversation and Lesley's thoughts so I felt it was clear enough that they were the loves of each other's lives.

I also had trouble with the cast of characters at first.  There were a lot of people introduced who turned out to be the suspects and I found I actually had to write them down.  Maybe I had problems because it was an audio book and I didn't absorb it as well.  The narrator is okay. She differentiated between characters well enough, but there is something about her reading that wasn’t as natural as I would have liked.

The spooky aspect of the novel is that Leslie can see and talk to ghosts which help her in her work as an archaeologist, discovering graves, crypts and bones.  This serves the plot, and these encounters are pretty cool, but they aren't necessarily scary if that is what you are looking for.  The person she can’t see however, is her fiancé who can only come to her in dreams. I do not like romance so one erotic dream is enough for me and I wasn't interested in hearing the experience twice. It seemed a bit repetitive, but someone who likes romance may enjoy that aspect of the book.

I would have also liked to have felt more connected to the characters. They were fine, but I didn’t feel compelled to root for them.  Lesley sometimes bothered me because after every “accident” and murder attempt she insisted on going back to work right away and to continue to get to the bottom of the mystery.  I'm sorry, but if my life was in danger I would take that police escort, get a few attack dogs and maybe even a gun permit!  Joe bothered me because he seemed a little bossy and patronizing to Lesley.  I understand he is being protective but when people act like that it raises my hackles.

To be honest, I felt that I had read this story or seen it before and met the characters already. It’s a thriller novel, a murder mystery and the reader has a pool of suspects, with plenty of opportunity for all of them but no real motives. You find out who the killer is at the end and the reason, but it wasn’t that surprising or enlightening for me.  The killer could have easily been anyone else.

What I did like is the twist at the end, not the killer reveal but an unexpected event. ***SPOILER ALERT: Leslie dies! I thought this was the biggest surprise in the book. The heroine doesn’t end up with the hero, she dies. Ha! “Kill your darlings.” I respect the author’s decision for this because I just assumed she would end up with Joe. END SPOILER ALERT***

I also enjoyed reading about New York City, some history and the underground world that Graham describes.  It is nice being able to visualize a setting because you're familiar with it.  The area that most of the novel takes place is lower Manhattan and the Wall Street area.  I love how Graham makes the city come alive, whether it is describing the Big Apple at night, walking down a quiet street (yes there are some even in Manhattan) or eating in an Irish pub.

I didn’t find the mystery that intriguing or the events that interesting, but I think that readers who are Heather Graham fans and/or want a light, murder mystery with some romance thrown in may like it. I will be reading more Heather Graham books, but I will probably take more of a cue from Goodreads and Amazon reviews to make sure it is more my kind of book.


Jenny said...

Wow, you had to write the characters down to keep track of them all? Sounds like things got a bit confusing, though I can see how the audiobook would make remembering them all a bit more difficult, I find I retain information a lot better when I read it than when I hear it. And that is a heck of a spoiler at the end! I'm not sure if I made it all the way though this one that I would be a fan of that ending. I'm an HEA kind of girl:)

Penelope Sanchez said...

I found the book so captivating I lost track of time, and subsequently a fair amount of sleep. It's easy to immerse yourself in a world filled with such unforgettable characters.


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