How did I get it: I was sent a review copy courtesy of Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster.
Why did I get it: I was intrigued by both the book’s cover and its premise. (This title will also count towards my Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge.)
How I would rate it: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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.
Review: Dead on the Delta is a hard book for me to rate and review in a lot of ways. It was certainly a fun read and I enjoyed a lot of aspects of the book, but I felt like my reading was slightly hindered by others.
Annabelle was a fascinating main character albeit a master in the art of self-sabotage and a stellar underachiever. I liked her, but I sort of didn’t like a lot of what was going on in her personal life. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted Annabelle and Cane to be together if they could make things work, but I really didn’t like that there is this new trope in Urban Fantasy where female characters who are a mess and not in a good way only to still end up with healthy, kind male characters willing to put up with with whatever is going on with the female character because at least she’s a hot mess or something along those lines.
At least Annabelle was a really well-developed and relatable character. Throughout the book, she seemed to be struggling more with herself than anyone else, and I liked that she was working towards getting her act together. She definitely seemed to be on the right track to becoming something by the end of the book. And in spite of her desire to be as mediocre as possible at everything but quitting and selling herself short.
In terms of the world-building, I really applaud Jay’s creativity, originality, humor, and skill. Instead of sexy fairies, Jay introduces dangerous and creepy fairies that are being changed by what is happening to the natural world they live in which in turn changes life for humans living in same areas. The swamplands as well as the nasty turn that Annabelle’s world has taken are presented vividly and with excellent detail. The idea of people being hooked on Breeze (aka fairy dust/leavings) was also pretty awesome.* And the idea of fairy bites infecting people and messing them up permanently was very cool too.
In terms of other characters and various plots, there was definitely a lot going on in the book. Most of the subplots and action were juggled very well, but I didn’t get to know a lot of the other characters in the book well enough to develop any real attachments to most of them. Having Annabelle’s ex, Hitch, show up added conflict and drama, of course, but I had a hard time caring when anyone else besides Annabelle and Cane were in trouble or even mortal peril.
Probably the biggest issue for me while reading, and this is definitely a matter of personal preference, was that I didn’t really like that Dead on the Delta was in present tense. Something about that tripped me up time and time again. Maybe because so many of the books I typically read are all in past tense? I don’t know but it definitely posed a problem for me.
In conclusion, Dead on the Delta is definitely an unique and refreshing start to what promises to be yet another interesting and unusual Urban Fantasy series. It wasn’t a smooth, flawless read for me, but it was an enjoyable one. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for the next book.
* A similar concept gets used in Dust City by Robert Paul Weston. The books aren’t much alike in many other respect, but I think it’s cool that this idea is getting toyed with in both YA and Adult fiction titles.