Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Strange Days
. . . .

Strange Days

Erin Crowell - May 24th, 2010
Strange Days: A Dead Sleeping Shaman meets her own end of the world
“Dead Sleeping Shaman”
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Midnight Ink $14.95
By Erin Crowell
There’s something eerie going on in Northern Michigan, people are coming up dead and they’re doing it in strange places – at least is the case in the Emily Kincaid murder/mystery book series.
In “Dead Sleeping Shaman”—the follow-up to “Dead Dancing Women” and “Dead Floating Lovers”—local 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 afternoon’s batch, and so she continues on with the day’s 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.

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 book’s 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, Kincaid’s character comes off as bitter – and rightly so. She’s a magnet for strange. We get to hear her every thought, from resentment to pessimism, which—at times—is 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.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5