Waking the Dead

Waking the Dead

by Heather Graham

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They say a painting can have a life of its own… 

In the case of Ghosts in the Mind painted by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that's more than just an expression. The characters are reputed to come to life—and to kill. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland in 1816, and now, almost two hundred years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death seems to follow.  

Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are drawn into the case. They begin to make connections between that summer in Switzerland and this spring in Louisiana. Danni, the owner of an eccentric antique shop, and Quinn, a private detective, have discovered that they have separate but complementary talents when it comes to investigating unusual situations. 

Blending their personal relationship with the professional lives they've stumbled into, they confront this work of art…and evil. They have to discover what brings it to life. And they have to destroy it—before it destroys them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460330487
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 01/27/2015
Series: Cafferty and Quinn Series , #2
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 122,229
File size: 405 KB

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She's a winner of the RWA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers' Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook.

Read an Excerpt

The house was off Frenchman Street, not a mansion and not derelict. It sat in a neighborhood of middle-class homes from which men and women went to work every day and children went off to school. The yard was well-kept but not overmanicured; the paint wasn't peeling, but it was a few years old. In short, to all appearances, it was the average family home in the average family neighborhood. Or had been.

Until a neighbor had spotted the body of the woman on the kitchen floor that morning and called the police. They'd entered the house and found a scene of devastating chaos.

Michael Quinn hadn't been among the first to arrive. He wasn't a cop, not anymore. He was a private investigator and took on clients, working for no one but himself. However, he maintained a friendly relationship with the police. It was necessary—and, in general, made life a hell of a lot easier.

It also brought about mornings like this, when Jake Larue, his ex-partner, called him in, which was fine, since he was paid a consultant's fee for his work with the police…and his personal pursuits could sometimes be expensive.

"You know, Quinn," Jake said, meeting him outside, "I've seen bad times. The days after the storm, gang struggles in our city and the usual human cruelty every cop faces. But I've never seen anything like this."

Jake—Detective Larue—was sent on the worst and/ or most explosive cases in the city…or when something bordered on the bizarre.

Jake was good at his job. He was good at it, Quinn had long ago discovered, because he'd never thought of himself as the beall and endall. He took whatever help he could get, no matter where he got it. That was how cases were solved, and that was why he was willing to call Quinn.

Good thing he was back in the city, Quinn thought. He'd just arrived a few hours earlier. Danni didn't even know he was back after his weeks in Texas—he'd meant to surprise her this morning.

Quinn looked curiously at the house. "Drug deal gone bad?" he asked. It didn't seem like the type of home where such a thing happened, but there was no telling in that market.

"I'll be damned if I know, but I doubt it. Get gloves and booties. We're trying to keep it down to a small parade going through," Larue said.

Quinn raised his brows. It was almost impossible to protect evidence from being compromised when that many people were involved. But Larue was a stickler; he'd set up a cordoned path to the porch. There were officers in the yard, and they were holding back the onlookers who'd gathered nearby. The van belonging to the crime scene techs was half on the sidewalk and cop cars crowded the streets, along with the medical examiner's SUV. The only people who had passed him were wearing jumpsuits that identified them as crime scene investigators.

"Dr. Hubert is on," Larue said.

Quinn liked Ron Hubert; he was excellent at his job and looked beyond the norm when necessary. He wasn't offended when another test was suggested or when he was questioned. As he'd said himself, he was human; humans made mistakes and could overlook something important. His job was to speak for the dead, but hell, if the dead were whispering to someone else, that was fine with him.

"First things first, I guess. The entry hallway," Larue said.

There was no way to avoid the body in the entry hall. The large man lay sprawled across the floor in death. Hubert was crouched by the body, speaking softly into his phone as he made notes.

"The victim is male, forty-five to fifty years. Time of death was approximately two hours ago or sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. Cause of death appears to be multiple stab wounds, several of which on their own would prove fatal. Death seems to have taken place where the victim has fallen. There are abundant pools of blood in the immediate vicinity." He switched off his phone, stopped speaking and glanced up. "Please watch out for the blood. The lab folks are busy taking pictures, but we're trying to preserve the scene as best we can. Ah, Quinn, glad to see you here, son." Pretty much anyone could be "son" to Dr. Ron Hubert. He was originally from Minnesota and his Viking heritage was apparent. His hair was whitening, but where it wasn't white, it was platinum. His eyes were so pale a blue they were almost transparent. His dignity and reserve made him seem ageless, but realistically, Quinn knew he was somewhere in his mid-sixties.

"He was stabbed? Have you found the weapon?" Quinn asked.

"No weapons anywhere," Larue answered. "This is—we believe but will confirm—Mr. James A. Garcia. His family has lived in the area since the nineteenth century. He inherited the house. He was a courier who worked for a specialty freight company."

"The woman in the kitchen, we believe, is his wife, Andrea. It looks as if she was slashed by a sword," Hubert said. "Make your tour quick, Detective," he told Larue while nodding grimly at Quinn. "I need to get the bodies to the morgue."

Quinn accompanied Larue to the kitchen. He couldn't begin to determine the age of the victim there; only her dress and the length of her hair suggested that she'd been a woman. To say that a sword might have been used was actually a mild description; she looked like she'd been put through a meat slicer. Blood created a haphazard pattern on the old linoleum floor and they moved carefully to avoid it. "There's more," Larue told him, "and stranger."

Upstairs, another body lay on a bed.

"Mr. Arnold Santander, Mrs. Garcia's father, as far as we know. Shot."

"Gun? Calibre?"

"Something that blew a hole in him the size of China. And there are two more."

Another bedroom revealed a fourth body—this one bludgeoned to death. Quinn couldn't even guess the sex, age or anything else about the remains on the bed.

"Maggie Santander, the wife's mother," Larue said.

The fifth body was downstairs by the back door.

Compared to the others, it was in relatively good condition.

"This one is a family aunt—Mr. Garcia's sister, Maria Orr. What I've been able to gather from the neighbors is that Maria Orr picked up the Garcia children to take them to school. She was the drop-off mom and Mrs. Garcia was the pickup mom. Maria often stopped by for a coffee after she took the kids to school and before heading to her job at a local market. Mrs. Garcia was a stay-at-home mom and looked after all the children in the afternoon."

Quinn hunkered down by the body and gingerly moved the woman's hair. He frowned up at Larue.


"That's Hubert's preliminary finding, yes," Larue replied.

Quinn stood. "No weapons anywhere in the house?

The yard?"

"No. Obviously, the techs are still combing the house. I have officers out there questioning neighbors and going through every trash pile and dump in the vicinity and beyond. The city's on high alert. I'm about to give a press conference—any words of wisdom for me before I cast everyone into a state of panic?"

One of Larue's men, carefully picking his way around the corpse, heard the question and muttered, "Buy several big dogs and arm yourself with an Uzi?"

He was rewarded with one of Larue's chilling stares. "All I need is a city full of armed and frightened wackos running around," he said. "Quinn, what sort of vibe are you getting here? Anything?"

Quinn shrugged. "Was there any suggestion that they could have been into drugs or any other smuggling?"

"The poor bastard was a courier, a baseball coach, a deacon at his church. The mom baked apple pies. No, no drugs. And it sure as hell doesn't look like one of them killed the others and then committed suicide."

Quinn spoke to Larue, describing the situation as he understood it. "The grandparents were in bed—separate beds and rooms, but I'm assuming they were old and in poor health. The wife was cleaning up after breakfast, while the husband appeared to be about to leave the house. I think the aunt had just arrived and saw something—but didn't make it out of the house. She was running for the rear door, I believe. You'd figure she'd be the one shot in the back, but she wasn't. She was caught—and strangled. The different methods used to kill suggest there was more than one killer in here. What's odd is that the blood pools seem to be where the victims died. No one tracked around any blood, and there are no bloody fingerprints on the walls, not that I can see. Yes, we have blood spatter—all over the walls." He shook his head. "It should be the easiest thing in the world to catch this killer—or killers. He or she, they, should be drenched in blood. Except…your victim trying to escape via the back hallway was strangled. There's no blood on her whatsoever, and you'd think that if the same person perpetrated all the murders, there'd be blood on her, as well. Unless she was killed first, but that's unlikely. It looks like she was running away."

"So, the bottom line is…"

"Based on everything I'm seeing, I'm going to suggest more than one killer," Quinn said. "Still, they should be almost covered in blood—unless they wore some kind of protective clothing. Even then, you'd expect to find drops along the way. It seems that whoever did this killed each of these people where we found them—and then disappeared into thin air."

Larue stared at him, listening, following his train of thought. "You didn't tell me anything I don't already know," he argued.

"I'm not omniscient or a mind reader," Quinn said.

"Yes, but—"

"Your men should be searching the city for people with any traces of blood on them. It should be impossible to create a bloodbath like this and not have it somewhere. And the techs need to keep combing the house for anything out of the ordinary."

"This much hate—and nothing taken. Implies family, a disillusioned friend…or a psychopath who wandered in off the street. They say this kind of violence is personal, but there are plenty of examples to the contrary. To take a famous one, Jack the Ripper did a hell of a number on his last victim, Mary Kelly, and they believe that his victims were a matter of chance."

"They were a 'type,'" Quinn reminded him. "Jack went after prostitutes. What 'type' could this family have been? My suggestion is that you learn every single thing you can about these people. Maybe something was taken."

"Nothing seems to have been disturbed. No drawers were open, no jewelry boxes touched."

Quinn nodded, glancing at his former partner. Larue was in his late thirties, tall and lean with a steely frame, dark, close-cropped hair and fine, probing eyes. There were things he didn't talk about; he was skilled at going on faith, and luckily, he had faith in Quinn.

"That's why I called you," Larue said. "I'm good at finding clues and in what I see." He lowered his voice. "And you, old friend, are good at finding clues in what we don't see. I'll have all the information, every file, I can get on these bodies in your email in the next few hours. Hubert said he'll start the autopsies as soon as he's back in the morgue."

"Mind if I walk the house again?" Quinn asked him. "There's something I want to check out."

"What's that?"

"Like I said, I'm surprised more blood wasn't tracked through the house. But what I do see leads back to James Garcia."

"One would think—but you're trying to tell me that James Garcia butchered his family—and came back to the hall to slash himself to ribbons?"

"No, I'm not saying that. I agree with you that it's virtually out of the question. I'm just saying that the only blood trails there are lead back to him. There's no weapon he could have done this with, so…that tells me someone else had to be in the house. They got to the second floor first and murdered the grandparents, headed down to the kitchen and killed the wife, then caught either the aunt or James Garcia. But you'll note, too, that there's no blood trail leading out through the doors. Like I said, whoever did this should have been drenched. It seems obvious, but surely someone would've noticed another person covered in blood. Yes, this is New Orleans—but we're not in the midst of a crazy holiday with people wearing costumes and zombie makeup. And even if the killers were wrapped in a sheet or something protective, it's hard to believe they could escape without leaving a trace."

"What if they had a van or a vehicle waiting outside?" Larue asked.

"That's possible. But still…I'd expect some drops or smudges as the killer headed out. I'm going to look around, okay?"

"Go for it—just keep your booties on and don't interrupt any of my techs. Oh, and, Quinn?"


"Thank God you're back."

Quinn offered him a somber smile. "Glad you feel that way."

He left Larue in the hallway, giving instructions to others, and supervising the scene and the removal of the bodies.

At first, Quinn found nothing other than what they'd already discovered. Of course, he was trying to stay out of the way of the crime scene unit. They were busiest in the house; he knew they'd inspected the garage but concentrated on the house, so he decided to concentrate on the garage.

He was glad he did. Because he came upon something he considered unusual.

It was in between two cans of house paint.

He picked up the unlabeled glass container and studied it for a long time, frowning.

There'd been something in it. The vial looked as if it had been washed, but.

There was a trace of red. Some kind of residue.

Blood? So little remained he certainly couldn't tell; it would have to go to the evidence lockup and then get tested.

He hurried back in to hand it over to Grace Leon, Larue's choice for head CSU tech when he could get her. She, too, studied the vial. "Thanks. We would've gotten to this, I'm sure. Eventually we would've gone through the garage. But…is it what I think it is?"

He smiled grimly. "We'll have to get it tested. But my assumption is yes."

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Waking the Dead 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
sharon1JT More than 1 year ago
Heather Graham is the Queen of the bazaar. I love this cast of characters. Danni and Quinn are perfect as a couple. And, Wolf, everyone would be lucky to have a dog like him. This is a strong, entertaining story line that is reminiscent of “A Portrait of Dorian Gray”, but modern and scarier.
Wildflowers More than 1 year ago
Waking the Dead is the second book in the Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn series. Heather Graham weaves an enjoyable paranormal mystery bursting with romance and suspense. Fans of the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author will welcome this new addition to their collection of her novels. In Waking the Dead, Heather Graham forcefully paints a chilling picture which will make you look over your shoulder as Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn join hands to solve a mystery involving strange and horrible murders that are taking place in New Orleans. It has an interesting premise with a painting called Ghost in the Mind dating back to 1816 at the center of the story. The painting depicts various stages of murder. Cafferty and Quinn face an uphill task in solving the mysterious murders. One question uppermost in everyone’s mind is: Can a painting comes to life and commit the horrendous murders? I like the story and love Heather Graham’s writing but comes a cropper is the length of the story. I think it would have been a wonderful book if it had been shortened by about a hundred pages. The story is solid, the characters are likeable and the prose is beautiful. Die-hard fans will lap this up but for others it may not be an easy read.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
I agree with other reviewers that this book dragged on and on. There was so much repetition of small, mundane facts that by the time I hit page 150, I couldn't wait for it to end. This book could have been about 100 pages less and been much more to the point and interesting. The killers seemd obvious to me from early on. Numerous editing errors throughout. Missing words or repeated words in sentences. Then there were the technical errors: in one place she talks about his eyes being dilated as if he had been in the bright sun. Pupils don't dilate in the sun, they constrict. Stated that the bones burned to ash when the main characters destoyed the corpses by burning them outside. First of all, cremation takes a 1,400 - 1,800 degree heat and a few hrs to destroy a body and then bones often have to be ground to ash. There is no way, an open air fire could obtain that type of heat or completely destroyed a corpse (bones and all). Overall, not the best. Since I bought all 3 of this series, I'm seriously hoping that the last book is better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ghosts, murder, New Orleans, and a Swiss castle all combine for a good fast read from Heather Graham. A painting tinged with evil is killing people in The Big Easy. How can Cafferty and Quinn stop it? I recommend this one.
Scooby65 More than 1 year ago
Heather Graham's characters Rafferty,Quinn and Wolf are at it again. I love the characters in this series, the way the author describes them you almost feel like you know them. Be prepared for lots of suspense and action. This series is well recommended.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I love Heather Graham’s books – most of the time. However, “Waking the Dead” was a tad disappointing for me. It wasn’t nearly half as scary as her “Krewe of Hunters” books, and the narrative dragged on through the middle part. The plot is very intriguing though – a painting, Ghosts in the Mind, is blamed for a series of murders. The painting itself looks innocent at first, but once one looks closer, the figures on the painting all have toys to kill people in their hands, and aren’t as innocent as they look. The painting was missing for a long time, and now it’s turned up, and what follows in its wake, are gruesome murders our main characters, Danielle Cafferty, and Michael Quinn, have to solve. The main characters have interesting personalities. They’re very different, yet they match well together. Danni is calm, relaxed, intuitive, in tune with her own spirituality. Quinn is more down-to-earth, a hardboiled private detective who is as at home at a crime scene as he is in his own home. The whole plotline involving the painting was detailed, and intriguing. What bothered me the most about this book, is how much they beat around the bush before they actually did something. Who is the villain? How will we catch him? There’s a lot of bouncing from one possible solution to the next to solve the case, which was annoying. When I thought they were on the right track, turned out it was something completely different. Some times this may add to the level of suspense for a book, but here it just made the plot drag on, and made the book at least a hundred pages longer than it should’ve been. I did request Heather’s next book for review, because in general, she’s a great author, and I love how she mixes romance, ghosts, the paranormal and mystery into compelling stories. She missed the ball somewhat on Waking the Dead, but I won’t hold that against her. The premise was good, the history of the painting was very intriguing, and this book could’ve been great had it not dragged on for so long.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Twisted plot, but kind of purple prose. I like a good paranormal mystery, but this was just a little too melodramatic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book. Edge of ur seat. I like Heather Graham and she writes some really good stories.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS This is the second book in A Cafferty and Quinn series. It can stand alone but I like them together. I reread Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham. I was only going to look it over. The same characters are back and few new ones. It is a scary book. If you scare easily don't read at night and in foggy weather. The suspense was good about all the bad guys till the end. Was some love scenes that I skipped over. Lots of violence of different murders taking place. The plot was good, and kept you guessing. A family of five was murdered the day Michael Quinn gets back into town. He is called into it because of what was not found on the scene. A painting from 1816 is m issing and death follows the painting. It is in New Orleans. They need to find it and stop it some how. Danielle Cafferty, Michael Quinn and friends all join together to find the painting and stop the killings. They have gathered together an odd bunch. Danni is an artist that owns a antiques shop, Quinn a P.I., Bo Ray & Billy work for Danni, Father Ryan a Catholic Father, Natasha a Voodoo priestess , Ron Hubert ME & Hattie. They even have to leave the country to stop the evil killings in New Orleans. The characters are so different and work together so well. I hope that their are going to be more of Cafferty and Quinn together in the future. I like how took some facts about 1816 and worked them into a story in modern New Orleans. The setting was New Orleans now and Switzerland of 1816 and 2013. Some of the scenes in the castle I would not want to see at all. Did not want to put the book down. I am glad I did not read at night. I will read more of Heather Graham's work in the future. I was given this ebook to read and asked in return to give honest review of it by Netgalley and Harlequin. 03/25/2014 PUB Harlequin Imprint Harlequin MIRA 336 pages ISBN 9780778316121
arbjamesAJ More than 1 year ago
Danni and Quinn are back. This time there is a murderous painting on the loose. This is a painting created that dark summer that bore such fruit as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Not to be outdone by the other creative geniuses in Geneva that summer (Shelley and Byron), artist Hubert created a painting to die for. Literally. Somehow, of course, that painting ends up in New Orleans, and when it starts wreaking havoc, there's no one to call but Danni and Quinn and their assorted allies. Can they stop the painting, and whoever has awakened it, before it kills again? For me, Graham's work isn't consistent. One novel will be great and keep me guessing, while the next seems almost painfully obvious and makes you want to give the characters a smack on the head because they're missing what's right in front of them. The first book in this serious was pretty good. While you knew pretty much all along who the mastermind was in that one, the co-conspirators came as something of a surprise. However, this second novel fell into the painfully obvious category. It would be great to see Danni and Quinn deal with something a little different next time around. It's interesting how both cases so far have revolved around objects of European origin. I'm sure there are plenty of haunted objects floating around New Orleans that originated there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heather Graham is one of my favorite authors but this book was a disappointment. The romance between Quinn and Danni left a lot to be desired and the storyline didn't pull me in or hold my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cursed a lot just in the sample
Anonymous More than 1 year ago