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Posted June 7, 2000
It¿s a pleasure to read a novel and know that the author has come up with something original, satisfying and enjoyable. To see said author use everything at her fingertips and to completely tell a tale is also a joy to behold. In DEADTIMES, we get this and so much more. Yvonne Navarro comes up with a plot that is so adaptable to what she wants to accomplish, it was with awe that I read this in three sittings, marveling at the prose. DEADTIMES can be read in two ways: as a whole novel or as a series of short stories told in chapter form. Either way you will enjoy this tremendously. DEADTIMES is a told through the eyes of Mae Johnson, who was the daughter of a Hopi taken from her home in the early 1700¿s and fathered by Daniel Johnson, a White trapper. After quite a few decades, the deadly curse that the Hopi¿s father put on his daughter and John has Mae conjuring a demon to sell her soul to live nine more lives. The demon agrees and this is the genius of the story: Navarro now has given herself nine stories to tell. The first takes place in 1691 in Salem. Mae is now in Rachel, a constable¿s wife during the Witch Trials. Then she is a Mambo in 1943. Next is 1585 and we meet Mae as Lady Gwendolyn who is set to undertake the wifely duties of Lord Christopher, who is in turn related to Lizzie Borden. Now the next life is a surprise and a twist I didn¿t see coming but could happen only the way Navarro describes. Then, in 1961, Mae is a Negro male who is running from Klansmen after being nearly hanged. The following life is also a twist that had me screaming, 'Justified!'. 1986 is represented by a gay male who has AIDS and the tribulations he goes through with his infected lover. Then we go to the present time and follow Mae as a hooker in Los Angeles who is befriended by a cop that brings the narrative full circle. The epilogue lets us in on one last secret that is so evil and cunning, I was smiling ear to ear by the time I closed the book. The basic theme in each story/life is change. Mae tries to make each person she inhabits a better person than when she first comes into them. Navarro brings life to different historical eras with her gorgeous descriptions. The dialogue is perfectly set in each year and rings true. I fully enjoyed this book and have to say that Yvonne Navarro is at the top of the dark genre and you would be making a grave mistake by not checking out DEADTIMES and other books written by this clever and fun writer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.