Let the Dead Sleep

Let the Dead Sleep

by Heather Graham


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An object of desire? Or of fear?

It was stolen from a New Orleans grave—the centuries-old bust of an evil man, a demonic man. It's an object desired by collectors and by those with wickedness in their hearts.

One day, its current owner shows up at Danni Cafferty's antiques shop on Royal Street, the shop she inherited from her father. But before Danni can buy the statue, it disappears, the owner is found dead…and Danni discovers that she's inherited much more than she realized. In the store is a book filled with secret writing: instructions for defeating evil entities. She'd dismissed it as a curiosity…until the arrival of this statue, with its long history of evil and even longer trail of death.

Michael Quinn, former cop and now private investigator, is a man with an unusual past. He believes that doing the right thing isn't a job—it's a way of life. And the right thing to do is find and destroy this object weighted with malevolent powers. He and Danni are drawn together in their search for the missing statue, following it through sultry New Orleans nights to hidden places in the French Quarter and secret ceremonies on abandoned plantations.

Cafferty and Quinn already know that trust in others can be misplaced, that love can be temporary. And yet their connection is primal. Mesmerizing. They also know that their story won't end when this case is closed and the dead rest in peace once again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778315056
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 03/26/2013
Series: Cafferty and Quinn Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She's a winner of the RWA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers' Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook.

Read an Excerpt

It was spring in New Orleans, a beautiful April day, and Angus Cafferty had been dead for three months the afternoon Michael Quinn followed the widow Gladys Simon to The Cheshire Cat, an antiques and curio store on Royal Street.

The house itself, now a shop, was one of the few buildings that had survived the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 that had destroyed 856 buildings—followed by the fire of 1794 that destroyed another 212. It was one of the only structures from the mid-1700s that remained on Royal Street. It had a two-storied facade, with an inner courtyard and balconies surrounding the building streetside. He knew the layout of the old building; the original parlor, study and dining rooms were set up as the shop's display area, while the old pantry was Danielle Cafferty's studio. The basement was not really a basement at all. This was New Orleans, and even on high ground, the basement was just the lowest level of the house. Six steps led up from the street, and courtyard entries led to the porches and the house. The shop's basement was filled with treasures Angus had collected and kept away from the view of others. Upstairs, above the store, were the office and a small apartment used by the Cafferty family. Billie McDougall slept in the attic, ever watchful, while a second street entry, which had once been a carriage house, was now a two-car garage.

Following Gladys Simon was easy; Quinn was directly behind her and she was oblivious. He felt like a stalker, having to trail her like this, but when he'd discovered that morning that she had the bust, he'd tried to see her. According to her housekeeper, she refused to see anyone. No amount of cajoling had gotten him in.

He'd waited outside her house, but she'd run to her car, turning away when he'd begun to speak to her. All he could do was follow—and pray that she was going to the curio shop.

She approached the shop and so did Quinn, practically on her heels. As they entered, he saw Billie reading a book behind the counter and Jane Pearl, the clerk and bookkeeper, walking up the stairs, presumably going to her office. She paused, however, when she heard the door open.

Gladys Simon was unaware of her surroundings. She headed straight to the old mahogany bar that had been refashioned into a sales counter. Quinn stepped in right after her and feigned great interest in a grandfather clock that was situated just inside the front door.

Billie might have been perfectly cast as Riff Raff in a Rocky Horror remake or as an aging Ichabod Crane. He was as skinny as his mentor and employer had been robust. Billie had steel-gray eyes and a shock of neck-length white hair and was dressed in jeans and a Grateful Dead T-shirt. He must have been a startling and imposing figure to a Versace-clad and perfectly manicured matron like Gladys Simon.

But Gladys didn't seem to notice anything about Billie at all. She rushed over to him.

"You buy antiquities, unusual items, don't you? You have to buy the bust from me—you must buy it from me. No, no, you don't need to buy it. You can have it. Please, come to my house and take the bust away. It belongs in a place like this!"

Billie glanced briefly at Quinn, a frown furrowing his wrinkled brow. "I'd love to help you, ma'am. I'm not the owner, but—"

"Oh, dear! That's right!" she said with a gasp. "But…the owner died, didn't he? Oh, please tell me the new owner is available…please! I must… I can't live with that thing anymore____"

"Now, try to calm down, Mrs____?"

"Simon. Gladys Simon. It was my husband's. He's dead now. He's dead because of that…thing!"

"Please calm down, Mrs. Simon," he said again. "The object is a bust?"

"Yes, very old—and exquisite, really."

"You want to give me an old and exquisite piece?" Billie's voice was incredulous.

"Are you deaf, sir?" she shrieked. "Yes—I must be rid of it!"

By then, the woman's frantic tone had drawn the new owner from her studio in the back of the store.

Quinn had watched her on the day of Angus Cafferty's funeral. He had chosen not to approach her then; he had kept his distance when Cafferty was laid to rest in the Scottish vault at the old cemetery—the "City of the Dead," where he had long stated he would go when the time came. There'd been a piper at the grave site, but Cafferty was accompanied by the traditional New Orleans jazz band and a crowd of friends to his final resting place. He'd been loved by many in the city. Of course, a tourist or two—or ten or twenty—fascinated by the ritual, had joined in, as well. The vaults in the cemetery didn't allow for the immediate grouping around the grave that was customary at in-ground burials, so he'd been able to hover on the edges of the crowd, paying his own respects from afar.

There was no doubt that the man's daughter had been devastated. And there was no doubt that she was old Angus's daughter—she had his startling dark blue eyes and sculpted features, finer and slimmer, but still a face that spoke of her parentage. Her hair was a rich auburn, brushing her shoulders, a color that might well have been Angus's once—when he'd had pigment in his hair. Despite her grief, she hadn't seemed fragile or broken, which gave him hope. Though she was slim, she was a good five-nine and might just possess some of the old man's inner strength.

As she walked to the front of the shop, she was frowning slightly, obviously perplexed by the commotion. She wore jeans and a short-sleeved tailored shirt and somehow appeared casual and yet naturally elegant. She moved with an innate grace.

Gladys heard her coming and turned to her. "You—you're the owner?"

"Yes, I'm Danni Cafferty. May I help you?"

"Oh, yes, you certainly may. I know your father was intrigued by historic objects. I never met him but I read that his shop acquired the most unusual and…historic objects," she repeated. "You must come and take the bust."

"Mrs. Simon, we don't just take anything."

"It's priceless! You must take it."

"Mrs. Simon, I didn't say we wouldn't buy it. It's that we don't take things." Danni looked at the woman, assessing her with a smile. "I can't believe this is such an emergency that—"

"The bust killed my husband!" Gladys Simon broke in.

Danni raised perfectly arched brows. "Do you mean that…that it was used to strike him? If that's the case, the bust might well be evidence—"

"No!" Mrs. Simon cried. "You are not your father!"

Danni seemed to freeze, calling on reserves of hard-fought control and dignity. "No, Mrs. Simon, I am not my father. But if you wish to bring this bust in—"

"No! I won't touch it. You must come and get it."

Danni mulled that over for a minute, as if she was still fighting for control. Quinn noted that Gladys Simon's shrill voice had alerted Jane, and the bookkeeper was coming hesitantly down the stairs, one of Angus Cafferty's ebony nineteenth-century gentleman's canes in her hands. A good match for Billie—although the two weren't romantically linked—Jane was slim and straight with iron-gray hair knotted at her nape and gold-rimmed spectacles. She'd been with Angus for the past two years or so, and though she hadn't been a confidant in the way Billie had, she was fiercely loyal to the Cafferty family.

Jane was ready for whatever danger threatened, but seeing Gladys, her slim frame and near-hysteria, she held her place on the stairs, watching Danni to see if she was needed.

"Mrs. Simon, I'm sorry," Danni said. "You're suffering from terrible grief, and I have a lot of empathy for you. But we're not equipped to handle the psychological stages of that pain. We're a curio and collectibles shop and—"

"Yes! You must take the bust."

Danni glanced at Billie, who was following the conversation with unabashed interest.

"Mrs. Simon," she said gently. "Is there someone we can call? A close friend, a relative? Perhaps a minister or a priest?"

"I need you to take the statue!" Mrs. Simon said. Then she raged at Danni. "Oh, you stupid, stupid girl!"

Danni stiffened at the insult but, to her credit, took a deep breath and refused to reply, shaking her head with sorrow instead. "Let us help you. Let us get you someone who can help you."

Gladys whirled around, starting for the door.

"Mrs. Simon, if it's so awful, why didn't you just get rid of it?" Danni demanded.

Gladys stopped abruptly. She slowly turned around and walked toward her. "Don't you think I tried? I threw it in the trash, and it was back in the study the next day. I dropped it in a Dumpster on Bourbon Street, and it was back the next day. I buried it—and it was back!"

She was delusional—or so she obviously appeared to Danielle Cafferty.

"Mrs. Simon, really, you need to calm down," Danni said. "We'll go over and see the statue. Give me an address and we'll come this evening. We close at seven."

A sigh of sheer relief escaped Gladys and she dug into her handbag for a card, which she handed to Danni. "Thank you…thank you. You've saved my life!"

"It's just a bust…a statue…whatever, Mrs. Simon. Please relax. Everything will be fine."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Gladys breathed.

And then she was gone.

Danni picked up the store's old-fashioned phone. She started dialing as Jane came the rest of the way down the stairs.

"You all right, Danni?" Jane didn't hide her concern.

"Of course. But I'm worried about that poor woman."

"Who are you calling?" Billie asked.

"The police," Danni said. "Someone needs to help that woman—perhaps see that she's committed. She's—"

It was time for Quinn to make his move and he did so swiftly, setting his thumb down on the disconnect button before she could dial three digits.

Danni stared at him in total indignation. "What the hell? Who are you—what do you think you're doing?"

"Don't call the police just yet. Listen to me. The woman really needs your help. Ask Billie," Quinn said. "I can try to follow her and get the damned thing, but I've already tried to see her and talk to her. She knows about your father and the shop, so you're the one she needs to trust. You need to go and get the statue. But you don't have to deal with this alone. I'll be there."

Taken aback, she was still angry, but he saw sudden recognition in her smoldering gaze, along with shock and resentment.

Maybe he wasn't handling this well.

"You…you were at my father's funeral," she said.

He nodded. "I was his friend. He was a good man. The best. And you're doing him a real disservice if you don't continue his work."

"His work? His work was this shop and I'm keeping it open. Listen, I'm calling the police. That woman needs professional help—and I don't believe you're any more equipped to deal with her than I am," she said.

"Billie?" Quinn turned to Angus's longtime assistant.

Billie cleared his throat, looking at Danni. "Um, yeah, I don't know how to explain it all, but your father would've gone out there and seen the statue."

"Who is he?" she asked Billie, inclining her head toward Quinn.

"He is standing right here. I'm Quinn. Michael Quinn, private investigator."

"And you're investigating crazy ladies with statues?" she asked sarcastically.

"You should go see the bust, Danni," Billie said.

"What's the matter with both of you? If I don't call the police, I'll live with a guilty conscience forever. She's deranged! She could be a danger to herself and others."

Quinn stepped back. "By all means, then. Call the police. And maybe they can help her for a few hours—a few days. The danger will continue. I guarantee it."

"Really? And you're so sure of this…how?"

"Because I worked with your father on occasion."

Her eyes narrowed. "I don't know you," she told him.

"Um, I do," Billie said. "I know him."

"I've seen him with your father, too," Jane murmured. "But I don't think you should trust him."

"She should trust him. Yes, she should!" Billie argued. "No offense, Jane, but you were never part of Angus's real world. You've barely been around two years and you're his bookkeeper, nothing more."

"Well, I never!" Jane said.

"Jane is a wonderful employee and you will not stand here in my store and insult her!" Danni said indignantly.

"Angus trusted me implicitly," Jane declared.

"Perhaps," Quinn said with a shrug. "But that's not important right now."

Danni looked at him warily. "You should state your business, your relationship with my father and then leave the store."

"I helped him. He helped me. I guess Angus wanted to protect you, his little princess," Quinn said. "Well, it's a shame and it's sad and it's probably too late." He felt his anger growing, and he wasn't sure why. It wasn't really her fault if her father had chosen not to share the depths of his life with her.

But she should have figured out that he wasn't just a shopkeeper or a collector! How naive could she have been? On the other hand, maybe she hadn't been that naive. Maybe she'd just been gone too much.

"Like I said, I don't know you, and I was very close to my father!" she began. "Mrs. Simon is suffering and needs help but understand this—I am not trained or equipped to deal with mental illness, and I rather think you might have some problems in that area yourself—rather than being a person who's capable of dealing with it!"

"Call the police, then. Like I said, maybe they can at least buy her a few hours." Although Quinn ignored her insult, he felt his fingers knotting into fists. He had to get out of the shop. There was no chance he'd offer unprovoked violence to anyone but he didn't want to break anything there. He studied her for a moment and added, "If you come up with some sense, meet me at the Simon house at five. At five—I don't care if you've closed or not. Billie handles the shop, anyway. He doesn't need you here."

With that, Quinn turned.

As the door closed behind him, he found himself shaking with emotion.

And some of it was anger.

Some of it was fear. Not for himself. He'd long since learned that fear, in itself, wasn't a bad thing. But a man's reaction to fear could be very bad indeed.

He was afraid for the future. He hadn't realized how much he'd depended on Angus Cafferty.

Danni watched the stranger leave, puzzled and trembling inwardly with outrage, indignation, a painful sense of loss. And dread.

She'd been working until she'd heard Gladys Simon's strident voice. Working idly on the finishing touches to a painting. She assumed she'd been inspired by a face she'd seen on the streets of New Orleans. Dignified, aging, attractive, intriguing. But her painting was almost an exact image of the woman who'd come into the shop.

It doesn't mean anything, she assured herself. It was just a resemblance. There were many such women in the South. Old-school, well-groomed and usually ruled by impeccable manners and propriety.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Graham deftly weaves elements of mystery, the paranormal and romance into a tight plot that will keep the reader guessing at the true nature of the killer's evil. -Publishers Weekly on The Unseen

Suspenseful and dark. The culture and history surrounding San Antonio and the Alamo are described in detail. The transitions between past and present flow seamlessly, and the main characters are interesting and their connection to one another is believable. -RT Book Reviews on The Unseen

"A fast-paced story, involving history and ghost stories. Graham is skilled at creating intriguing, mature characters involved in challenging situations.... The investigators who work for the unusual Krewe of Hunters could take cases any place in the country. The Unseen takes them to San Antonio, Texas. Let's hope these unique teams continue to operate in Heather Graham's future paranormal novels of suspense." -Lesa's Book Critiques on The Unseen

"If you like mixing a bit of the creepy with a dash of sinister and spine-chilling reading with your romance, be sure to read Heather Graham's latest.... Graham does a great job of blending just a bit of paranormal with real, human evil." -Miami Herald on Unhallowed Ground

"The paranormal elements are integral to the unrelentingly suspenseful plot, the characters

are likable, the romance convincing and, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Graham's atmospheric depiction of a lost city is especially poignant." -Booklist on Ghost Walk

"Graham's rich, balanced thriller sizzles with equal parts suspense, romance and the paranormal-all of it nail-biting." -Publishers Weekly on The Vision

Great writing and excellent characters make Wicked a terrific read.... The undercurrent of mystery and suspense will keep readers riveted." -Romance Reviews Today

Customer Reviews

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Let the Dead Sleep 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
lucieparis2011 More than 1 year ago
A great original novel. A beautiful journey into the heart of New Orleans with suspense, romance and murders. The author leads you on the trail of an evil bust that leaves in its wake a host of corpses. All those who approach it are possessed and killed one way or another.  This could be a simple thriller with an interesting plot but Heather Graham added some touches of superstition and supernatural. A pinch of voodoo from the Bayou, a near-death experience and Satanists ritual. No zombies, no vampires but inexplicable events and sensations. The atmosphere is delightfully plausible since the lust for power is a reasonable motif for murders. As for the decor of this treasure hunt, it takes place in locations as diverse as a cemetery, a police station, a bar full of whores or even a church. Well described, well written, it made ¿¿me want to visit Louisiana as I felt myself walking alongside the protagonists in search of the bust. The characters contribute grandly in the success of this story. They all have a universe of their own. Quinn is a hero who wants to work for the good and not to waste his second chance after his terrible wild youth in New Orleans. Billie, the faithful servant, is desperate to protect Danni even if he is not getting any younger. Natacha is a mystical priestess and Larue, a cop full of good intentions but who has to follow the rules. They are amazingly well pictured. And of course, there are Angus and Danni Cafferty, the guardians of a secret that I really struggled to find its power. Indeed, for me, it remains the only downside of this good thriller. I spent too much time watching the various protagonists refuse to reveal the supernatural activity that took part in Angus past to his daughter. It was as if it were a terrible secret when in fact it is not. Many questions remain unanswered and I strongly hope that the author will write a sequel. The duo, Danni-Quinn, complements themselves and their interactions are fun even if the romantic part is not the strong point of this thriller. A great original novel.  Lucie newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
I have to say that this is not one of my favorite Heather Graham books. The first chapter grabbed my interest but as it progressed, it got weaker in my opinion. The main character, Danni, just seemed immature and dumb at times. The plot seemed transparent to me. However, paranormal romances aren't my favorite genre so this just wasn't to my liking. Since I've already purchased the entire series, I'm hoping the next 2 books are better. That being said, if you are into paranormal romances, this may be for you. It was well edited.
GinsBookNotes More than 1 year ago
New Orleans, voodoo, ancient evil, human sacrifice, and a new partnership against evil combine and make Heather Graham’s, Let the Dead Sleep a can’t put down tale of mystery and suspense. Book 1 of The Cafferty and Quinn series begins with a prologue. Dani is saying her final goodbyes to her larger than life father, Angus Quinn. He is in a coma and Dani is finding it difficult to let go. She talks to him endlessly and I was as shocked as she was when Angus bolts upright and proclaims, “Lass, so late, too late! I should have spoken to you about this so many times, so long ago.”… Dani is elated that her father has spoken and quickly yells for the doctor. The doctor, shakes his head sadly, and informs Dani that there is no way that her father has spoken to her since he had already passed when he had left her alone in the room to say her final goodbyes. And so we begin, Let the Dead Sleep. It has been three months since Angus’s death. Dani has many things to learn about the life her father led and the secrets he tried to protect her from .  She needs to come to terms with things quickly because a new evil has arrived in New Orleans and it is leaving a trial of dead in its wake. I really enjoyed this book. It had the perfect combo of mystery, suspense, paranormal, and romance. Things move along at a steady and engaging pace. The characters are all great—except for the bad guys, of course. I’m looking forward to discovering what is up next for Cafferty and Quinn in book 2, Waking the Dead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heather Graham's books are wonderful. Interesting story lines and characters. Just let right touch of paranormal to go with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read with mystery, supernatural happenings and just a touch of romance. I did not like it quite as much as the Krewe of Hunters series though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heather Graham never lets you down• Her stories are so exciting you dont want to put the book down
sharon1JT More than 1 year ago
Not one of my favorite Heather Graham books. Although I love her paranormal books, this was a little too far out there. I found the heroine rather boring and dense, refusing to listen to sound advice because she needs to be in control.
ijaybee More than 1 year ago
Again Rbonda gives the entire story away!    Just read another review for a different book and she did the same thing!  Very  disappointing! And she gets the books free!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as good as her Krewe of Hunters series, in my opinion, but still a good read.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Mixing the flavor and history of New Orleans with a suspenseful mystery, a dollop of romance and a dash of the paranormal and Heather Graham created a new series to enjoy.  First in the Cafferty and Quinn Series, Let the Dead Sleep begins as Danni is at her father’s deathbed.  Her inheritance is the antiques shop and the apartment above it, and she decides to honor her father’s request that she keep the shop running.   When an elderly woman requests Danni purchase and remove a marble statue that has murdered her husband and threatens her, the woman is found dead before the purchase can be completed.  Hot on the trail of this odd statue is former cop Mike Quinn, who knew Danni’s father and has been chasing this malevolent marble bust to stop it. When he requests her help, Danni learns about herself, her family and just how important Quinn has become to her.  Expertly guiding the reader through New Orleans: modern and not so, touristy and dark and gritty, the ride is wild and full of tension. Each new discovery and element threads into the story to provide a rich tapestry steeped in the multiple cultures that provide the city with its unique otherworldliness.  Non-stop action, clever banter, sexual tension, an intriguing mystery and characters that are easy to identify with and care for, the book was hard to put down.  Left with a cliffhanger and other threads of stories still untied, this was the start of a series with great potential.  I received an eBook copy from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Weak and annoying plot, the big "mystery" of who the main characters are is never resolved, waste of time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good book, easy to read and follow. Heather Graham is always a good bet and this one is a winner. I would give it 4 stars. I read it in just a few days. A good solid mystery.
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rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 stars Discription below taken off of Goodreads. Wow a lot of suspense and murders. I guessed some of the mystery but not all of it. I have a feeling that we will see more Cafferty and Quinn in the future. Their is some paranormal in this book. This is one dirty book, They get covered in mud and other junk a few times. Plus their is some love scenes too. Danni's father just died and he tells her to not sell the shop and read the book with the light. Danni finds out that she did not know about a lot of things her father had been doing all his life. Now Danni was supposed to pick up where he had been and making a better world. Michael a PI demanded that Danni step up for the job like her father would and to meet him at 5 and the address. Danni had a customer come and demand that she come to her house and buy a bust that was cursed. She said it killed her husband. That she had to come. Before her customer came to the shop Danni had painted her portait before ever seeing her. When Danni got to the house she found Michael their searching the house for her. Her car was parked in driveway, her housekeeper said she was imside but could not find her. They all searched till they found her in the attic she had hung herself. The bust was missing having a thief steal it at same time she killed herself. Whoever had the bust was soon killed. Even if you were just looking for it you might not survive. The body count kept rising as they trailed the bust. People were willing to pay a lot money for it. They thought they could get power owning it. The characters were a wide range of people, some good and some bad. The settings were creepy for some of them. I don't think I would break into a cemetary at night and go into a crypt too. And a New Orleans one too. Plot line was good. I could not get that interested in it like others of Heather's novels. I was given this ebook to read and asked to give honest review of it by Netgalley. Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (March 26, 2013) 336 pages ASIN: B00ALTVI6K
PeachyBD More than 1 year ago
Im sure it will be a great book but I haven't had time to read it yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do all requests from the cats, well, not like 'leave Meadowkit alone' kind if requests, I wouldn't do this if I wasn't an assasin, but I am one.