Publisher's Weekly review
The Sleeping and the Dead: A Jackie Lyons Mystery
Fantasy author Crook (Conundrum) introduces Jackie Lyons, a former Memphis PD vice detective battling self-destructive tendencies, in his disturbing first mystery, a mix of the hard-boiled and the supernatural. To make ends meet, Jackie has begun to sell photographs of crime scenes, mostly relying on the patronage of ghoulish Michi Mori, “a sugar daddy who demanded no sugar.” After Jackie impulsively buys a new camera from a handsome stranger, mysterious images start to show up on her film, manifestations, she later realizes, of the ghosts she has always seen. Meanwhile, the notorious Playhouse Killer’s latest theatrically inspired murder distracts her from her efforts to decipher the images’ message. While Jackie’s crude, callous narration may not win her much sympathy, her rough edges and erratic behavior make it difficult to turn away. Crook deftly explores the human fascination with the macabre at the same time he draws attention to the reader’s own voyeuristic impulses.