TOUCHED BY DEATH by Dale Mayer
TOUCHED BY DEATH is the June 2012 contemporary suspense/mystery novel by Dale Mayer. Anthropologist Jade Hansen’s life has been a world of depression. Following a trip to Haiti (the previous year) to help victims of an earthquake, Jade returned home to the loss of almost everyone she cared about and quite possibly her mind. When a wealthy American businessman wanted to recover the bodies of missing family members, Jade would find herself back in Haiti helping to excavate a mass grave of victims buried after the disaster. And to the teams utter shock and horror they found more than just victims of the quake.
Along with a team of doctors and pathologists, Jade’s adventure into the heat and quake ravaged island of Haiti brought back many memories from the previous year. Along with a suspicious feeling that they were being watched, Jade was also intrigued by the attentions of fellow American, Dane Carter. Dane is an independent contractor helping to rebuild the local hospital, but a call from the team working the sight, would bring Dane and his construction machinery to help with the recovery. But trying to keep the discovery a secret was placing more pressure on the team then they had fully anticipated. When the man overseeing the finances threatens to pull the team, they begin to wonder if it is all worth the cost.
The discovery within the pit amped up everyone’s morbid curiosity, but the locals were not accustomed to outsiders interfering with the dead. Old voodoo traditions, myths and stories would surface and the local inhabitants would begin to suffer with the knowledge that the outsiders were disturbing the dead. But the bigger problem that would surface was that the authorities didn’t care. The details and information the team were unearthing were falling on deaf ears and the police were refusing to cooperate with any investigation. People disappear all of the time and now one of the retrieval team is missing.
Family life for most of the locals is difficult. As one of the poorest islands, the Haitians could barely feed or clothe themselves. And Dane’s brother had married a local woman, whose current mental health was deteriorating as the excavation continued. And to add to the already stressful situation, his brother’s extended family were giving Dane cause for concern. Something wasn’t right.
Dane and Jade’s relationship is slow to build as each is in Haiti to work. But slowly over a few weeks, Dane gets up the nerve to ask Jade out, but life has a way of surprising everyone, when rumors about family members and missing team members are more important than one’s love life. But a warning from a voodoo woman would put Jade on edge and Dane needing to find a way to protect the woman with whom he was falling in love especially when most of his extended family were missing or dead.
TOUCHED BY DEATH is a fascinating storyline with several twists. Although I had an idea as to the person or people responsible, I was still surprised that I was intrigued with the build up and revelations. The storyline flows smoothly, the characters are real and I was definitely impressed with the direction of the story.
Copy supplied by author.
Reviewed by Sandy