Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dead on the Delta

Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay

One of the best things to come from the recent glut of paranormal and dystopian novels is the trend of taking history or the present world and shifting it, ever so slightly, so that one small change affects nearly everything down the line.

While, yes, there have been plenty of books in the past that did something similar, I'm seeing it more frequently and in fascinating ways. Take, for instance, Dead on the Delta. What if a disaster at a chemical plant in Louisiana tainted the bayou, causing the little fairies so small that no one can see to mutate into insect-sized blood-sucking pixies of death. And then there are the invisible people. How could I not buy a book with that kind of premise?

Things get even more interesting as the author builds this world around Annabelle Lee, a drunken med-school dropout who is one of the few people immune to fairy venom. While everyone else is holed up inside iron-clad towns and armored cars—iron keeps the fairies away, and a single bite makes a normal person either insane or dead—she gets to go out into the swamp and do all the dirty work. Yay for Annabelle? Not quite.

It's a good story and very entertaining. I'm eagerly anticipating the second book, Blood on the Bayou, which is due out in March 2012. But while the story captivates, it's the richness and thought the author put into this world that amazed me.

The disaster that sparked the mutation happened before the arrival of Katrina. Almost glanced over as back story are details of Annabelle working exhausting hours to recover and identify the bodies left in the hurricane's wake. Again, she is one of the few who can withstand the fairies, and so she must do the worst jobs because there is no one else.

I can't do justice in describing the details the author incorporates, often in passing as though it were natural that killer fairies had taken over much of the Southern US. I will just suggest that you read it yourself if you want to better understand what I mean.

Dead on the Delta gets 4 stars from me because it didn't quite feel as extraordinary as a 5-star book should, but there plenty of things to make this highly recommendable. 

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