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Book Critique: Fade to Black (Krewe of Hunters # 24)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Yes, pick it up for a mystery involving paranormal elements, historical flair and the romantic side of the plot. 

Fade to Black is the twenty fourth book in the longest series, Krewe of Hunters, by Heather Graham and published in May of 2018. The primary plot is centered around - Bryan McFadden - an ex-military and current Private Investigator - and Marnie Davante - actress in a cult TV Show. The plot is set in Los Angeles, CA.

This book forms the first book in the next trilogy by Heather Graham, which she sets it around the McFadden Brothers, who are ex-military and now working as private investigators. In the beginning Heather had plots for each of the Krewe of Hunters as team members were introduced. But from the 9th book onwards, she has made those plots into trilogies within the series, that either revolve around the same set of characters or characters flowing from one book to next in the trilogy with new lead characters added. 

Her First trilogy is made of the ninth book The Night is Watching; the tenth book The Night is Alive; the 11th book The Night is Forever. Second trilogy is made of the 12th book The Cursed, 13th book the Hexed and 14th book The Betrayed. Third Trilogy has the 15th book The Silenced, 16th book The Forgotten and the 17th book The Hidden. Fourth Trilogy has three books set on Celtic American Cruise-Line ships - 18th book Haunted Destiny on Destiny, 19th book Deadly Fate on Fate and 20th book Darkest Journey on Journey. Fifth Trilogy was formed of 21st book Dying Breath, 22nd book Dark Rites and 23rd book Wicked Deeds.

Krewe are a secret FBI unit with each member of the unit honing a particular psychic talent of their own, making them the paranormal investigating team. This unit was created to deal with murders having supernatural undertones and paranormal activities. Headed by paranormal investigator Adam Harrison, this elite unit is called on to solve cases linked to historical and paranormal mystery involving legendary crime and serial killings, war events and hauntings. The Krewe are divided into three distinct groups. The first group is led by Jackson Crow, who is also the Assistant Director of the Krewe, and called as the original Krewe of Hunters; the second group is led by Texas Ranger Logan Raintree and called as the Texas Krewe; the third group is Yankee Krewe, based in NYC, overseen by Jackson Crow. A possibility of a fourth group in Miami, FL is touched upon in the 17th book The Hidden.

Marnie Davante, a former cult TV show actress, looks forward to use her fame to open a children's theater. And she agrees to do the Los Angeles Comic Con Circuit in the process. During the comic con one of the co-stars of the TV show who was at their booth gets hacked by an axe wielding villain of a different show.

Bryan McFadden, an ex-Navy turned PI, reluctantly approaches Marnie, knowing well that she would not welcome his protection, to help her. And true to his fears, Marnie is somehow targeted by a TV show villain. And he is bent on to use all his powers to ferret out the killer as well as protect Marnie.

Both Bryan and Marnie have instant fireworks between them, to begin with more antagonistic towards each other with a hidden sexual attraction. That made both of them sound jerk and mean. Yet they keep their differences aside to catch the killer, eventually acting on those hidden attractions. Interesting that Heather took most of the book for them to come together, although the fireworks started at the start.

This time around, Heather Graham has her trilogy set around a trio of brothers who were children of a famous theater couple, beginning with Bryan's story first. It was fun to read this kind of plot, more so because I relate to stories that have continuation and at the same time have characters related too. 

Bryan and Marnie get help from the local detectives and the Krewe of Hunters - Detectives Grant Vining and Sophie Manning from the LAPD; Jackson Crow, the Krewe field director and Angela Hawkins, Jackson's wife and a Krewe member; Sean Cameron, Team Two Krewe Member and his wife Madison Darvil, a fabricator artist, whom we had met in the 6th book The Unholy; and of course Special Assistant Director of Krewe teams, Adam Harrison, and his resident ghost, Josh Harrison, his son.

Although, Heather Graham again has the list of cast and characters of her plot in the beginning of the book, which has been doing from past few books. The characters are as usual fun and loving even though there is terror on every corner of the page. 

Bryan McFadden comes of a case where he aids Jackson Crow in finding a missing kidnapped boy. The case sounded so very similar to the case that Malachi Gordon had handled right before he was asked to join the Krewe in the 10th book, The Night is Alive. Similar plot used, perhaps. 

Funnily enough, Bryan McFadden had a dog that he named, Dog. I remember that Columbo, the TV detective also has a dog on the show called Dog. How coincidental! I have quite of a few reviews of books, movies and TV shows where I keep referencing Columbo, granted that he is my favorite TV detective. However, here I had reviewed his very first episode, Prescription: Murder.

I marvel at how Heather brings the history and paranormal elements together with a seamless string that makes it a phenomenal plot. She gives the readers a view into the past through artifacts, tours, researches and just plain history. This time she takes us around Los Angeles, CA. She also blends in film, TV and literary references too where needed. 

This time there are pages at the end where it gives reader an opportunity to either join a book club and win books, or buy a book and get a few free. Again there are a few grammatical or character or location errors in this book. Definitely a strong editing needed.

I see a pattern to Heather Graham's stories in the Harrison Investigations and Krewe of Hunters series, apart from the presence of ghosts and spirits. Usually the stories revolve around historical inferences, somehow connecting the past to the present either by way of characters or incidents and they involve hidden tunnels be it in cemetery or old houses or mortuaries. Always has one new pair of Krewe of Hunters or Harrison Investigations investigators. But could she please have her heroines be more smarter than just running to the bad guys alone, when she has so much of help around from FBI and her friends.

However since Deadly Fate, she has added another element to her plots. Adam Harrison buys an old theater in Alexandria, VA. And slowly he has been adding talented partners of his Krewe of Hunters into that theater work. So far Clara Avery, whom we met in Deadly Fate and fiancée to Thor Erikson, is assigned as the artistic director of that theater. And joining her are Charlene "Charlie" Moreau fiancée to Ethan Delaney, whom we met in Darkest Journey; and Alexi Cromwell, whom we met in Haunted Destiny and Jude McCoy's fiancée. With this plot, Heather shows that Madison Darvil, wife of Sean Cameron, a Team Two Krewe member, and a fabricator artists - whom we met in The Unholy, also is part of the theater. At the end of this plot, Marnie Davante also gets an offer to be part of Children's theater of this theater.

I wish Heather gets it clear on what positions Jackson Crow and Adam Harrison hold in the Krewe of Hunters. In the beginning Adam Harrison was the Director and Jackson Crow the Assistant Director. Then Adam Harrison became Assistant Director and Jackson Crow became Field Agent in Charge. Sometimes she is having Adam Harrison as the Senior Advisor and the head of all the Krewe teams and Jackson Crow as Field Director. What are their correct roles? Lately she has been keeping them as Assistant Director for Adam Harrison and Field Director for Jackson Crow, at least from past two books consistently.

A very good mingle of murder and mystery; past and present; fabricators and tv artists; and above all romance and love. Although for most part a successful thriller in the series of books under Krewe of Hunters by Heather Graham that is an easy ready and still enjoyable; I still would have liked more at the end.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Marnie Davante looks to open a children's theater named for her dad - The Peter Davante Theater for Young Artists.

b. All three McFadden brothers had joined a branch of service: Bryan in the navy, Bruce in the marines and Brodie in the army. Per this book, Bruce was helping out a friend who was with Texas Rangers and Brodie is in China working as a bodyguard for a chain store CEO. They were looking to form an investigation company together.

c. Parents of McFadded brothers - Hamish and Maeve McFadden - are the resident ghosts of the brothers, who had died together while doing a performance. They are close friends to Adam Harrison.

d. Marnie lives with her cousin Bridget Davante in the second half of her duplex. Bridget is a writer for many a hit TV shows. 

e. Detective Sophie Manning comments that when she was a child she wanted to marry Hamish McFadden, but Hamish was already married. She also has a friend, Andrew, who is sick and has little more time to live.

f. One of the store that Heather mentions in the plot is Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA - a horror store with books. Sadly I read somewhere that it was closing…but their website doesn’t mention though. 

g. Heather speaks about a Horror convention called horror palooza and I wasn’t sure if they existed. Infact they do. A Horror Palooza convention occurs in Los Angeles, CA in June, at least this year. And there is a Monster Palooza convention in Pasadena, CA which occurs in April this year.

h. Bryan McFadden joins the Krewe of Hunters in Alexandria, VA by the end of the plot. 

2. Sub Plots:

a. In eleventh book, The Night Is Forever, Dustin Blake was part of an FBI team consisting of Grant Shelby, Cindy Greenstreet and Jerry Gunter. I am wondering why Heather Graham had mentioned their complete names as well as a brief intro, albeit as part of the conversation. Will they resurface in future plots is something we have to wait and see.

b. Dustin Blake has a sister Rayna Blake who is a Nashville sensation - a country music singer. I wonder if Heather Graham will use her as a lead character in a future book.

c. Katie O'Hara and David Beckett are two characters in the 12th book, The Cursed plot. And a history into their background paused me to think they might be characters from another of Heather Graham book. I was pretty sure they weren't from Krewe of Hunters or Harrison Investigation series. A little dig on google pointed me to Ghost Shadow, the first book in Bone Island Series by Heather Graham published in 2010. Having not yet read that series, I am curious if Hannah O'Brien or Liam Beckett, David's brother, appear in that book as well. 

d. Jane Everett and Sloan Trent were part of Team Two: Texas Krewe. But in the 14th book, The Betrayed, Heather mentions that they were going to be permanent members of the Yankee Krewe. Have to read the rest of the books to know if that is where she sends them. 

e. In the 16th book The Forgotten, Dr. Phil Kinny seemed have paranormal abilities. Will he be a main character in another book?

f. In the 18th book, Haunted Destiny, Heather Graham introduces us to the large family of Alexi Cromwell, albeit only as a conversation - her parents, a brother who is an artist, a sister Sienna who is a doctor. Curiously enough only Sienna's name is mentioned in the plot and none of the other family members.  May be we will see Sienna again, hence her mentioned explicitly.

g. In the 20th book, Darkest Journey, Heather introduced a photographer, Chance Morgan, who could see ghosts as well. A future plot perhaps.

3. Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 52, Line 22, it should be "…might be called an…"

b. On Pg. 53, Line 6, it perhaps should be "…find more videos, I'll let…"

c. On Pg. 181, Line 12, it perhaps should be "…by the videos I've seen…"

d. On Pg. 181, Line 17, it should be "…to do, or he then…"

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