Today is release day for DEAD BEFORE DYING (Diversion Books), the fabulous new paranormal mystery from mystery author Kerry Schafer–who also happens to be a personal friend of mine.
Although Kerry is a personal friend, I don’t take friendship into account when I’m asked to blurb a novel–and I want to lead this off by saying that Kerry never asked for this review.
However, when a book takes hold of my imagination, and won’t let go–and when I continue to think about the story, and miss the characters, after I’m finished, the book deserves more mention than a line or two, or even a cover blurb (which I gladly gave).
In DEAD BEFORE DYING, Federal agent Maureen Keslyn checks herself into Shadow Valley Manor to rehabilitate from an injury incurred on her last assignment (with the government’s paranormal investigations service). Although she makes friends with the other residents–some of whom are hiding unusual secrets–Maureen quickly runs afoul of the Manor’s director, who doesn’t appreciate Maureen’s dry wit and cheeky attitude.
When the other manor residents start dying…in strange and unusual ways…Maureen must go undercover to investigate and stop the supernatural killings from decimating the aging population of Shadow Valley Manor, and then reaching out to endanger the world at large. With the help of an undertaker’s daughter, a knife-wielding chef, and the local sheriff, Maureen must figure out who–or what–is killing off the strange and elderly residents of Shadow Valley Manor, and put it to rest–hopefully, in peace.
I read a lot of mysteries, and DEAD BEFORE DYING kept me guessing all the way to the end–which is a major mark in its favor (though not a mandatory element of a good read, at least for me, because with other mysteries I enjoy, I often figure them out fairly quickly). Better still, Schafer’s cast of quirky (and often creepy) characters were a delightful bunch, from the elderly writer begging the male residents (also elderly…) to help her “research” her newest erotic novel to a geriatric vampire and Maureen herself, whose darkly edgy sense of humor made me laugh out loud more than once.
The novel isn’t “too scary” for people who don’t like horror reads, but it has its share of creepy moments. If you’re easily frightened, make it an afternoon read, or plan to finish it in one night–hey, you won’t be sleeping anyway…
For those of us who like a little scare and a lot of action in our mysteries, DEAD BEFORE DYING hits all the right notes at an excellent pace, with a healthy infusion of the dark, dry humor that’s a hallmark of Kerry Schafer’s style.
My cover blurb calls this “a brilliant start to one of the best and most unique series I’ve read in a very long time,” and I meant every word.
If you’re a fan of mysteries, humor, or things that go bump in the night, I’m guessing DEAD BEFORE DYING is your kind of read. (It was certainly mine.)
You can pick up the novel in print or in ebook format anywhere books are sold, and here’s a universal link to the various online retailers.
For added fun, here’s a link to find out…Which DEAD BEFORE DYING CHARACTER ARE YOU?
And for the record? I’m Maureen Keslyn – and I couldn’t be happier.