Deadroads by Robin Riopelle
Reviewed by Benoit Chartier
The Sarrazins aren’t like any other family, by far. Sol, the elder son was raised to become a traiteur, a kind of healer who sends restless spirits into the next life. The middle brother, Baz, has an extraordinary (and somewhat supernatural) way with song. Lutie, the younger sister, deals with her ghost problems by taking anti-psychotics. All three lead separate lives, Lutie having been taken away as a child, the elder brothers surviving on their own, exiles from their native bayou country to parts much colder in the north.
When their father is murdered, they must come together to solve the mystery surrounding its circumstances and try to stitch back together their torn ties. The dynamic created among the three is strong and believable, the supernatural aspects of the story tying everything together in a gritty, yet believable way.
The first things that hit you, softly, are the voice, the prose, the narrative. The story is so deliciously languorous that you slip down, entranced, into its embrace. The language is smattered with Cajun dialect, but even the rest of the novel has a flow, like a swift undertow that can barely be seen from the surface. It grips, and tugs you along, and you are there, in the story. It is a barely discernable hum that enhances the read, without becoming a distraction.
The action has a seething quality to it, like burning embers that might ignite at any moment, and often do, keeping the tension tight and the reader on edge.
I surprised myself by being sad toward the last thirty pages, that I would no longer be putting my book-mark between the pages: that the ride would be over. I had to reassure myself that it would be okay.
Deadroads is published by Night Shade Books, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.