Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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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.

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 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.

 
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