Walking the Dead by Heather Graham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Walking the DeadThis starts in Switzerland in 1816 when a group of well-known artists gather at the castle of a friend. It is to be a sociable, maybe some working, time for folks like Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and Claire Godwin. Henry Hubert was the host and at the end of the little get-together he announces that he too is an artist. He also announces that he is going to begin “painting with blood” to hopefully cover much of the dark despair of the castle.

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The story then moves to the present day and is basically located in New Orleans where a family has been found slain. It was a man, his wife, her mother, father, and her aunt. They are strewn through the house and appear to be stabbed and sliced up with a knife and possibly a sword.

Michael Quinn, previously a cop and now a private investigator, is called into the investigation by Detective Jake Larue. The entire situation seems to be kind of spooky and mysterious even for New Orleans. There appears to be blood but not really in the amount that would have been anticipated. These two with the help of the entire department begin searching for clues and especially searching for who did it and where is he now?

Danni Cafferty, established artist and owner of an antique/curio store, is linked to Quinn but not married as yet. She spends her time working and also doing more paintings that she displays down the street at Image Me This, an art gallery belonging to Niles Villiers, a close friend.

She has just been given a giclee, which is a computer- generated inkjet copy of an original expensive painting. In this case the original was painted by Henry Hubert. The painting seems to take a hold of Danni but she is not concerned as she realizes this happens when you have a deep respect for an artist’s creation.

However as the story moves along many other New Orleans characters join in as one of them, a rich widow, has recently purchased an original painting by Hubert also. But as she waits for the delivery of the painting strange things begin to happen including several murders which are all as strange as the murder of the family that Quinn was and still is investigating.

In all of the murders there seem to be some type of fog that appears and surrounds the area where either murders are committed or people are sliced with some sort of knife-like instrument.

As the story rolls on there seems to be reason to fear for the lives of not only the rich widow but also perhaps Danni although there doesn’t seem to be any legitimate reason for that premise.

Quinn decides however to bring Danni, the widow, a local priest, a local voodoo practicing lady and several of Danni’s close friends together for not only safety but to also help shed some light on this entire mystery.

While this is going on several more murders are committed in the fashion of the previous as again there seems to be fog and slicing but also like before there seems to be almost a lack of blood for the amount of wounds.

After they do some connecting of the dots they believe there is some type of a connection to Hubert and even maybe to his original castle in Switzerland.

Strangely enough a descendant of Hubert works in the New Orleans police department as a coroner type investigator and is a friend of Quinn’s. Quinn decides that they should go to Switzerland for a more in depth investigation and since the local Hubert owns the old castle it is an easy decision to make.

More and stranger things happen and Danni always seems to be on the edge of finding out something but never is able to quite get to the bottom of the entire mystery. Quinn and Danni use all their resources and finally work to a successful finish. Not one that would necessarily be expected by most readers but in looking back it seems to be a very viable one.

Although I am not a reader of paranormal type stories this one did hold my interest to the end, mainly due to the great work by the author of building on more and more with each paragraph. There were no let downs. Everything kept going at a good pace!