Review: Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay

9 Jun

Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay
Pocket Books (May 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99
ISBN: 978-1-4391-8986-3

Favorite Lines: “If it was ever real, it should still be real. Love doesn’t stop just because you start hating someone.” (p. 80)

Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dreams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t. Including helping law enforcement— and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town.

But Annabelle isn’t equipped to deal with the murder of a six-year-old girl or a former lover-turned-FBI snob taking an interest in the case. Suddenly her already bumpy relationship with Cane turns even rockier, and even the most trust-worthy friends become suspects. Annabelle’s life is imploding: between relationship drama, a heartbreaking murder investigation, Breeze-crazed drug runners, and a few too many rum and Cokes, Annabelle is a woman on the run—from her past, toward her future, and into the arms of a darkness waiting just for her. . . .

Stacey Jay‘s book, Dead on the Delta, is an urban fantasy written in first person POV in the present tense. I really don’t care too much for present tense as it tends to pull me out of the story, but once I got past my very personal dislike the tense I enjoyed the heck out of Dead on the Delta.

The story features a unlikable alcoholic heroine who is a minority in more than one way in the small town where she works and lives. Annabelle is a white woman in a predominately black town. In this world, after the deadly fairies made themselves known those with money hightailed it to safer places leaving the town to those who either refused to leave their family homes or couldn’t afford to move.

Annabelle is also immune to fairy bites while almost every other citizen is not. Fairy bites make people crazy. However, when a fairy bites Annabelle it dies. But like always, humanity has found a way to sink itself into a pit with a new addiction. A drug that drives the people bat-sh*t crazy. The drug is made out of fairy poop. Ewww, right? Anyway, Annabelle will come face to face with the effects of the drug, but who knows if the drunken heroine will survive.

Annabelle is a tortured heroine and is a semi-functional drunk. She isn’t self-destructive for the sake of being self-destructive though. She wants to forget that past and in Dead on the Delta she learns the past isn’t through with her yet. One of the most frustrating things about the book is watching Annabelle interact with everyone. Annabelle keeps a giant wall separating herself from everyone, from the people out to destroy her to those who love her. She is petrified of letting anyone scale it. When her phobia becomes problematic, Annabelle is forced to reevaluate the choices she is making in life.

Read it or skip it?: Read it. It’s an awesome take on fairies, is a kick ass urban fantasy and a super quick read perfect for summer. The book is first in a new series and is character driven. Sure there’s mystery and suspense, but the hurdles Annabelle is forced to jump kept me turning the pages of Dead on the Delta.

Side note: I really enjoyed reading about a white heroine and her black lover. I mention that fact only because 10 years ago that combination was not commonly written in general mass market books. Not that it isn’t common (Hello, bi-racial blogger here!). But I can’t think of one book  I read 10 years ago which featured a white heroine and her black boyfriend that didn’t mention racial issues. I love the way it’s written in Dead on the Delta. It’s not a big deal. Annabelle and Cane liked each other and began dating. The fact that he’s black is only mentioned as a descriptor and reinforcement that the town is predominately black.

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