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Dead Again

Dead Again: Murder Mystery

Dead Again by Susan Lynn Solomon

People are creatures of puzzles and riddles. That is the only way I can explain my secretive, yet undeniable attraction towards articles on unsolved murders, as well as the fiction books exploring such ‘cold cases’. That’s also the reason why I’ve picked up Dead Again by Susan Lynn Solomon.

STORY

The book starts with a short prologue by the main character, Emlyn Goode – a young fiction writer, who introduces the reader to everything she knows about the murder that happened in her hometown, 40 years ago. We find out that Emlyn, who lives at Niagara Falls, is also a descendant of Sarah Goode – a witch from Salem, who passed long ago. Emlyn cherishes her connection with the art of witchcraft, and the thoughts of her ancestor (preserved in the form of a diary called the Book of Shadows) are ever present in Emlyn’s life. Oh, her cat Elvira is also keeping her company.

In contrast to the affection of her feline companionship, Emlyn has a rather troubled connection with her mother, Anne. When Anne suddenly returns to Niagara Falls just in time for a high school reunion, Emlyn has a feeling that her mother is keeping something from her. Solomon’s writing creates an absorbing and suspenseful atmosphere using repetitive clues, which seem to be constantly building towards some imminent yet unknown disaster. Throughout the first few chapters in particular, the reader is constantly on the lookout for something bad to happen.

For all of this grim foreshadowing, the reader is still likely to be surprised when an actual murder does take place at the reunion. The death – and the thrilling mystery that surrounds it – unleashes a torrent of new mysteries and grisly details from the past, which return us to the decades-old unsolved murder case of the prologue. Adding to the creeping sense of something strange, a secretive conspiracy seems to revolve around the group of Anne’s high school friends. Behind everyone’s polished smiles lies a firm and mutual interest to keep the past in the past. The author successfully makes a suspect out of everyone in the town, and Emlyn cannot suppress her desire to investigate on her own.

Soon, the stakes are much higher for Emlyn, as another tragic event occurs, and she decides to face the dangers of her mission to reveal the truth – no matter what the outcome.

CHARACTERS

Emlyn is certainly a well-developed character. She is not the most patient or tolerant person, many spontaneous actions get her into trouble, and she definitely doesn’t like to listen to other people’s advice. Yet her determination to reveal the truth makes a brave individual, and one who is worthy of the reader’s respect. The plot isn’t driven by just Emlyn’s actions alone however. Instead, she is surrounded by a few very close friends, who remain loyal in helping her to solve the murders.

Emlyn’s family history of witchcraft and her growing connection to her supernatural roots is one of the most interesting aspects of the novel. When all her mortal strengths have been exhausted, Emlyn dives deep into her ancestor’s Book of Shadows, and accepts her magical power. Witnessing the results of her learning is captivating.

WRITING

Solomon writes in very clear and accessible manner. Her style also favors humor, especially in characters’ dialogue. The story progresses in a logical way, and the pacing is just right, without being too slow or too rushed. There is only one chapter where Solomon eases up on the action, but she does so only in order to dig deeper into the more emotional side of Emlyn’s character.

Dead Again is a thrilling murder mystery that explores complicated family connections, as well as old sins that cast long shadows. My only critique would be that the ending felt a little bit rushed. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an intriguing mystery with a comic touch, and who is not afraid of a little bit of magic.

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Opinions

  1. Post comment

    Sending to my daughter who loves to read these types of books. Have to ask her how she feels about unsolved murder cases. She tends to watch those types of shows as well.

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  2. Post comment

    This looks like a great mystery to read during the long winter. I also love that it takes place in Niagara Falls, which is fairly close to home for me.

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  3. Post comment

    I have not read a good mystery novel in a long time. I love that this includes supernatural and spiritual aspects. I would probably be nit picky about that since I have studied it for the past two decades but I really want to read it! Thanks for sharing about this!

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  4. Post comment

    This book sounds interesting! I haven’t read a good mystery book for ages and this sounds like something I might like!

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  5. Post comment

    That sounds like a great read. I am definitely going to add this to my reading list.

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  6. Post comment

    I love murder mysteries. Will have to add this to my list of books to read. Great recommendation.

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  7. Post comment

    Dead Again sounds like a great mystery read that I would love to read. I have always wanted to be a detective since I was a young girl so these are indeed the type of stories I love to read. Thanks for sharing a great review.

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  8. Post comment

    This sounds like an interesting and great read. I am trying to add to my collection on my kobo. I will have to check it out!

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  9. Post comment

    I am always in search of a new and exciting book and this one sounds really great. I love a good mystery and trying to solve it as the story goes along. Makes it fun to read and enjoyable to talk about it to friends, family and other book lovers that I love.

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  10. Post comment

    Sounds like a thriller. I love mysteries. I can’t even remember the last time I had a chance to read anything that wasn’t required for work.

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