Book Critique: Pale as Death (Krewe of Hunters # 25)

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. 

Pale as Death is the twenty fifth book in the longest series, Krewe of Hunters, by Heather Graham and published in July of 2018. The primary plot is centered around Bruce McFadden - the second of the McFadden brothers, an ex-military turned PI - and Sophie Manning - Homicide Detective at LAPD. The plot is set in Los Angeles, CA and is set after the events from the previous book Fade in Black.

This book forms the second book in the next trilogy by Heather Graham, which she has set around the McFadden Brothers, who are ex-military turned private investigators; first book being Fade to Black. 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.

We met Detective Sophie Manning in Fade to Black. She is a competent and able homicide detective working along-side Detective Grant Vining at LAPD. Last we know about her was that she had helped Bryan McFadden in capturing the killers who were bent on killing everyone cast in a TV Series that was considered for reprising, including Marnie Davante. We had also met Bruce McFadden, the second of the McFadden brothers and ex-military turned PI, for a little time. We had heard that he had helped out a friend who was with Texas Rangers before he met up with his brothers at the end of that plot. The story begins here after the events in Fade to Black.

Someone is using a past unsolved historic crime to recreate it and killing young stars in Hollywood. Detectives Sophie Manning and her partner Grant Vining are assigned to the case, more because of its bizarre nature and high-profile murders. Bruce McFadden inserts himself into the case, even if he doesn’t understand why he is being pulled towards Sophie. At first Sophie resents Bruce's help, but then she takes him on the case. Together they try to race against time to find the killer and as to why he is recreating old crimes before either one of them becomes the next victim.

In Fade to Black we had seen that Sophie was being a caregiver to one of her childhood friend, Andrew, whom she had loved once. In this book we see that she had lost him now. Points to Heather to even keep that little tidbit continuing in the next plot. Also in that plot, Detective Sophie Manning comments that when she was a child she wanted to marry Hamish McFadden, but Hamish was already married. Looks like she is getting her wish come true in this plot with Hamish's son. :P

Bruce and Sophie get help from the LAPD and the Krewe of Hunters - Detective Grant Vining, Sophie's partner at the force; Jackson Crow, the Krewe field director and Angela Hawkins, Jackson's wife and a Krewe member.

Since the plot follows Fade to Black, we see glimpses of some of the characters from that flow through to this, keeping the continuity. 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. There is subtle presence of humor all through the plot. 

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 again take us around Los Angeles, CA with references to some plays, films and literary works including Sleep No More, an NYC production of a site-specific work of theater.

Readers are provided with 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 fewer grammatical or character or location errors in this book. However, a thorough editing is definitely 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.

Since Deadly Fate, she has added another element to her plots. Adam Harrison buys an old theater in Alexandria, VA. 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; Alexi Cromwell, whom we met in Haunted Destiny and Jude McCoy's fiancée; Madison Darvil, wife of Sean Cameron, whom we met in The Unholy; and Marnie Davante fiancee to Bryan McFadde is assigned to Children's theater part of this theater, whom we met in Fade to Black..

I believe Heather has finally figured out the actual roles for Adam Harrison and Jackson Crow. 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; crimes and recreation; 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.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. At the end of the plot, both Bruce McFadden and Sophie Manning decide to join Krewe of Hunters and base in Virginia office. Now we have to wait for the last brother to join as well. 

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 14ht 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.

h. McFadden Brothers - Bryan, Bruce and Brodie: All three of them had served in a branch of service: Bryan in the navy, Bruce in the marines and Brodie in the army. Per the previous book, Fade to Black, Brodie is in China working as a bodyguard for a chain store CEO. As of this plot, he is joins Bruce mid-way to help him with the investigation, after solving the death of the maintenance man at Adam's theater in Alexandria, VA. They were looking to form an investigation company together, but Bryan takes up becoming a Krewe member at the end of Fade to Black plot, and the brothers seem to be following as of this plot.

i. Parents of McFadden 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.

ii. Bryan's story is told in Fade to Black and is now engaged to be married to Marnie Davante, the lead heroine of that plot.

i. In the 24th book, Fade to Black, we also meet Bridget Davante, Marnie's cousin and a writer for many a hit TV shows, living in one half of the duplex owned by Marnie. Curious if she will have a story of her own.

3. Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 62, Line 17, it should be "…Gwen revealed that…"

b. On Pg. 185, Jace Brown, boyfriend of one of the victims, promises to send all the pictures he has taken of his girlfriend during her performances to Detective Manning and PI McFadden. On Pg. 220, again Heather clears it that Jace Brown had sent the pictures. But on Pg. 223, Heather mis-quotes Ian Sanders in place of Jace.

c. On Pg. 373, Line 5, Couldn’t follow what the "L thing" meant here. Did Heather mean "LA thing"?


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