Dead Sleeping Shaman
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Midnight Ink $14.95
By Erin Crowell
Theres something eerie going on in Northern Michigan, people are coming up dead and theyre doing it in strange places at least is the case in the Emily Kincaid murder/mystery book series.
In Dead Sleeping Shamanthe follow-up to Dead Dancing Women and Dead Floating Loverslocal author (and Northern Express book reviewer) Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli returns readers to the world of writer Emily Kincaid, who is busy working on a Northern Michigan ghost town story when she happens to stumble across an old woman lying motionless against a tree near a remote walking trail.
Buzzelli writes: She seemed comfortable enough under the tall pine with that big straw hat covering her face, thin hands clasped in her lap against the cheap fabric of a wildly colored skirt of bilious greens and shocking oranges. Picture of pastoral innocence, I thought Her long-fingered, beringed hands were still and graceful, one on top of the other in her lap.
Kincaid passes her off as a drunk, snoozing off that afternoons batch, and so she continues on with the days mission: tracking down leads for her story in the local newspaper. However, upon her return trip past the woman, Kincaid is confronted with a grotesque reality the homely woman she had originally passed off as a drunk beggar is actually dead.
END OF THE WORLD
And so begins the mystery of the dead sleeping shaman, a psychic leader of a shamanic healing group with connections to an end-of-the-world revivalist cult in local Leetsville. According to the cult, the end will happen right near the 45th Parallel (the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole, which runs right through our backyard).
With just days until the end of the world, Kincaid has little time to solve the mystery of the dead woman. Luckily, help returns in the form of local deputy and friend Dolly Wakowski.
Family secrets, a ghost town and a forgotten grave give way to answers as the two women use investigative reporting, local connections and good-old Michigan know-how to figure it all out.
Dead Sleeping Shaman follows through in the series Northern Michigan name game, using such locales as Kalkaska, Traverse City and the Manistee River. Perhaps readers will experience a bit of déjà vu, reliving moments at various scenes throughout the book.
The same can be said for the books characters everyday folks who serve as vital components to solving the mystery. Colorful? No, but when you highlight the little things (like a bad Donald Trump-like comb-over), the people around you become a little more like well, characters.
Having to deal with her third case of murder/mystery, Kincaids character comes off as bitter and rightly so. Shes a magnet for strange. We get to hear her every thought, from resentment to pessimism, whichat timesis quite comical. However, somewhere behind the tough persona is a scared human trying to figure out her own life.
Is there a connection between the main character and her author? Maybe. After all, Kincaid works on her own Dead Dancing Women book while solving the mystery of the shaman. Who knows? Maybe Buzzelli has also had her fill of Northern Michigan strange.