Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Dead on the Delta features a vivid world, one where people try to ignore how dark things have become. It’s a place where fairies are real — they’ve mutated and want to feed on humans. When bitten by a fairy most people go insane, a handful die immediately and an even smaller percentage are immune. That’s Annabelle Lee. She’s immune. That means when something happens outside the iron grid that holds her little Louisiana town in from the tiny vicious creatures with the sharp teeth, Annabelle is the one heading out into the swamp.
It also means when little local girl’s body is found outside the wall, Annabelle has to be one on the scene. She’s not police, but she has to collect the samples and bring the girl in. And it’s horrific. Annabelle already has baggage with the death of little girls and a hard backstory that includes dropping out of medical school (eventually you’ll find out why, and it makes the tale sadder). She’s a tough woman, who no one would guess was ever raised as a debutante. She lives in a shotgun house, despite having more money than most in her town, and decides to use alcohol to cope with a particularly bad day.
One that only gets worse when the FBI show up after a small mixup on her end. Because one can never underestimate the ingenuity of people wanting to get high, there are those in Dead on the Delta who mix fairy poop with bleach to make Breeze …which they then snort or inject. It’s the fairy version of meth. And someone is definitely making it in her town.
So, now Annabelle is assisting on a murder, drug bust and trying her damnest to keep her ass out of a sling. But battling the big problems isn’t enough. No, she’s in a relationship with one of the top cops. Cane is fantastic. He’s loyal and he loves her. He’s also over her trying to pretend a year and a half relationship is “casual.” She’s thinking about running, because she’s still nursing the pain of a bad breakup six years ago. And, Mr. Bad Breakup Ex? Oh, he’s one of the FBI agents investigating her and her friends. Things are volitile for Annabelle. Mistakes are made. Lives are changed. And the struggle to figure out what’s best for her is utterly entrancing. Seriously, I read this nearly 400-page book in a single day. I kept setting it down — especially after Annabelle, Cane or Hitch did something frustrating — and then picking it back up wanting more.
The story is intense, the emotions, visceral, and Dead on the Delta is just damn good. Those who love flawed heroines not quite ready to own up to having problems, who love small towns with dark secrets and those who want to see fairies in a very different light must read Dead on the Delta.
Also, while Stacey Jay describes her fairies as tiny and humanoid, each time they attacked I kept imagining the tooth fairies from Hellboy II. Cute before they try to rip off your flesh.
Sexual content: References to sex, awesome makeout scene