Book review by Winston Skinner (originally published in The Newnan-Times Herald on November 14, 2015, used with permission)
is filled with authentic police ambience – the chore of balancing detective work with overtime pay, stress on families of those who serve, long hours of boredom and clues that lead nowhere.
Blue Cole’s latest novel also has a twist that ups the book’s readability. Michael Bennett, the detective at the center of the story, can talk to dead people. But only those recently deceased. In fact, they often talk to him and figure out they are dead as he walks around the scene where their last moments were spent.
Immediate Dead ($14.95, Indie Gypsy, paper, 202 pages) is the second published novel for Cole, who grew up in Coweta County and comes from a long line of Sharpsburg ancestors. His first book, Sleeping Sickness, had Coweta as its setting, and the new book has a few Coweta moments.
Mostly, it is an urban Atlanta story – with several reminders of how the outlying suburbs interact. Sometimes they fail to interact, as Cole shows in scenes where an ongoing series of murders is hard to solve in part because the killing takes place in different jurisdictions.
Both of Cole’s novels have offered real life flavor but with an element that skewed the landscape. In Sleeping Sickness, all the adults go to sleep one night and never wake up. The winding down of the world – loss of electricity, food, medicine and plain old mature adult guidance – make the story riveting.
Blue Cole, author of “Immediate Dead”
The world of Immediate Dead does not take as hard a jolt as Sleeping Sickness. Still, Cole skillfully weaves the emotions and challenges of everyday life into a story with some supernatural elements. Whether Michael’s ability is a gift or a curse is a recurring theme.
Cole creates other memorable characters, as well. The murderer is someone for whom – at least initially – the reader may feel more than a little empathy. Michael’s boss, sister, partner and his mysterious bartender-mentor, Fred, are also well drawn.
Immediate Dead is a fast-paced story that will have readers looking forward to the next book from Blue Cole.
Winston Skinner is a native of Newnan, Ga. and is news editor at The Newnan Times-Herald, where he has worked since 1982. A graduate of the University of Georgia, he is president of the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance which oversees museums dedicated to the memory of two Georgia writers, Erskine Caldwell and Lewis Grizzard. He and his wife, Lynn, live in an antebellum cottage in the College-Temple neighborhood in Newnan. They have two grown daughters, two granddaughters, and a grandson.