Waking the Dead

The Dead Series Book 2

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The Dead Series
<< Book 1: DEBRIEFING THE DEAD
Book 3: DAMNING THE DEAD (coming soon)
>>


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{WARNING: Blurb contains spoilers for Book One – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!}

Hyacinth always assumed dying would simplify her life. But when her new boss, Archangel Michael, sends her on her first official mission—to retrieve a powerful rock from a collector in Germany—things go downhill fast. For one thing, the Dead keep popping up, expecting her to guide them to the Afterlife. For another, her part-demon nephew Geordi’s powers are starting to leak out, at age seven. What if Michael finds out about him? Worse, what if Satan does?

Then there’s her love life-after-death. Rooming with a dead French cop no one else can see is complicated enough. But when Jason, Geordi’s lying Dioguardi Demon cousin, resurrects himself—so to speak—all Hell breaks loose. Literally. Can Hyacinth get Michael’s rock back before Satan steals its powers and breaks free of his prison? Or will her single-minded pursuit put those she loves—and the rest of the world—in the path of Satan’s fury?

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Reviews

4-and-1-half-stars “Fans of television shows like ‘Constantine’ or ‘Supernatural’ will absolutely love this book. Waking the Dead, as its title implies, is full of demons, ghosts and the supernatural. Not only that, the novel dives deep into religion, legend, and mythology. Seeing characters like Michael and Charon pop in will make paranormal fans cheer! The main character, Hyacinth, is phenomenal and develops so much in this book. The only issue is that readers may want to read the first book in the series first. This can be read as a standalone, but it is obvious that the book picks up right after the first book, leaving some questions as to what is going on.” ~Amanda Hupe, InD’tale Magazine

5-plus-stars-smaller “I’ve been waiting a year for this sequel to the RITA Finalist, Debriefing the Dead, and oh boy, it was worth it. From the first page, I was riveted to the story. Hyacinth gets to experience the darker part of being dead and working for Michael. There’s a definite darker feel to this book and I loved it. Mythology, demon worshipping, demon prejudice and romance all play a part in Waking the Dead. There’s a certain sub-plot that not only rang true historically but scared the crap out of me. I had to continue telling myself it was only a story, not real. Because if it was, damn, I’m heading for the hills.” ~N.N. Light’s Book Heaven

“[Waking the Dead] is like book one [in the series], fun in a strange way as I read just how much trouble Hyacinth can get into. Geordi is a wonderful seven year old and smart beyond his years. The book ends in a cliffhanger and although that is something I totally hate, every once in a while a book and the characters are so good I just overlook that, and this is one of those books and series.” ~Linda Tonis, The Paranormal Romance Guild

More Reviews on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HDcURI
More Reviews on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/WTDGoodreads

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Excerpt

{WARNING: Excerpt contains spoilers for Book One – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!}

Chapter One

“The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten.” ~Jewish Saying

I’m pretty sure my landlady’s alive, but you never know. At least, I don’t.

My name’s Hyacinth Finch, and a couple of months ago, I died and was brought back to life—sort of—by Saint Michael the Archangel, who’s now my boss. Also sort of. It’s complicated.

Basically, if you met me on the street, you’d think I was one hundred percent alive, no strings attached. But if I met you? Thanks to the “side effects” of rebirth, I wouldn’t know if you were alive, dead, or somewhere in-between, unless you told me.

Then there’s this whole thing where my former neighbor, Jason Jones, turned out to be related to my nephew, Geordi Dioguardi, and they both might have demon blood in them.

Well, Jason does for sure; it’s Geordi we won’t know about until puberty. And he doesn’t know I’m the Walking Undead, or that he’s being babysat by a dead cop he can’t see, named Eric Guilliot. See? Complicated.

Anyway, since my landlady wanted money—cold hard cash she could spend at the market—it’s a safe bet she’s a breather. She blocked the stairwell leading up to the Zürich flat I share with Geordi and Eric, looking like a six-foot tall, Swiss-German metal door in her gray sweater, matching slacks, and sensible black shoes. Her hair was gray too, but her eyes were a watery blue. Not a hint of black, thank God, so at least she wasn’t a demon. Probably.

I suppressed a shiver and shifted the heavy paper grocery bag in my arms, putting on my best Trustworthy Tenant smile. “Frau Blauch. So lovely to see you today.”

Her frown deepened, and she pointed a finger at my nose. “Rent. You pay now.”

She’d appeared from her basement apartment just in time to prevent me from getting under cover of the small overhang above the stoop. The chill late-October drizzle that had fretted all day wasn’t much more than a mist now, but it was enough to dampen my bangs and drip cool rivulets into my eyes. I blinked them away, wishing again that Jason hadn’t ditched us. For one thing, he’s even taller than Frau Blauch. For another, he can charm the pants off just about anyone. Me included.

I suppressed a shiver of a different sort and said to Frau Blauch, “I’m happy to pay you. But you said I could have an extra week to sort out my finances.”

“Ja,” she said agreeably. “Rent. Due now.”

The bag started to slip, the weight of peanut butter, milk, and fresh veggies pulling on my aching arms as I hiked it back up. The thing is, she was right. The rent was past due, and deal or not, I don’t renege on my responsibilities. I bend the truth now and then, and my past is shadier than you might expect—okay, I’m a former graverobber and sometime dealer in goods of, er, questionable origin—but I’m an honest thief. Think George-Clooney-charming, not He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-evil.

To make matters worse, Michael was due to pop in any day now, demanding I start my new job. He’s a busy guy, leading all those souls to their Final Destination, while also fighting off Satan’s minions. Since, like the kid in the movie, I see dead people, we struck a deal. If I “pre-sort” some of the Dead for him, I get time to find a good foster family for Geordi. But once he’s settled, I’m off to whichever After Life is reserved for semi-reformed grave-robbing liars.

I have other ideas—like staying with Geordi permanently. But that’s a whole other problem.

Frau Blauch’s gaze flicked over the wet grocery bag. “You haf little boy, ja? He is upstairs, allein—alone?”

Crap. I switched gears to Conscientious Parent and nodded toward the store one door down. “I only left him for a minute—just to get some food.”

Her brows lowered further, and she glanced pointedly at the streetlights, which were coming to life. It might be mid-afternoon, but the heavy gray skies meant it was dark already, and I couldn’t very well explain, My dead roommate is babysitting. But our window faces the street, and Geordi’d leaned over the flower box on the sill, watching me go into the store, then waving when I came back out. I’d also seen Eric hovering near his shoulder, like a moody blond—and built—guardian angel.

If only he wasn’t invisible to everyone but me.

Frau Blauch said, “Is not safe, little boy allein like zat. He has nightmares, ja? I hear him, at night. You leave him again, I call Polizei. You pay rent—tomorrow.”

She ducked through the small door off to the side of the stairwell, leading to her basement rooms. She was right about this, too. I shouldn’t leave him, and he did have nightmares. What kid wouldn’t, after what he’d been through? Was still experiencing?

I sighed and stepped over the stoop into the musty stairwell, lugging the now-soaked grocery bag up the stairs. Geordi, bless him, heard me fumble with the lock and ran to open the door, flinging himself at me. “Tata Hyhy!”

“Oof!”

By some miracle, I didn’t drop the groceries, and I managed to get one arm around his shoulder, squeezing back. He smelled of moist earth and sweet, late-blooming flowers, and I surmised he’d been digging around in the Angel’s trumpets in the planter, searching for bugs. I leaned back, and sure enough, his fingernails were black and his face was smudged.

“Find any as-yet undiscovered species of insect, Professor Finch?”

That made him giggle, but I detected uncertainty, too. I let the bag slide to the floor—who cared if a few jars broke?—and pulled him tight for a full-on, aunt-who-loves-him-more-than-life hug. Frau Blauch was right. Regardless of how close the market was, a seven-year-old shouldn’t be left in what he perceived as an empty apartment.

I sought out the only adult support I had in this new “life” of mine. From the window seat, my gaze was met by a habitually cynical jade-green one, now oddly tense. I tightened my grip on Geordi and raised an eyebrow, but Eric shook his head and went back to staring out the window. Just then, the lowering sun broke through the clouds, its rays electrifying his golden hair and limning his rigid profile, making him look like a downed wire, about to arc.

Had something happened? What?

I tamped down my frustration. How much easier this would be if my babysitter wasn’t dead. But Geordi’s the only son of Nicholas Dioguardi, who was the only son and heir of a very nasty capo in the Sicilian Mob. I say was, because he also died recently, trying to kill Geordi’s mother, my sister Lily. She died, too, but after Nick, and now la familigia wants Geordi back, something I will never let happen.

Geordi pulled back and swiped a grubby hand under his nose, giving himself a dirt mustache. His black hair and blue eyes were so like Jason’s that a sudden hot lump rose in my throat.

“Tata, when you were gone, I heard a man’s voice.”

Shit. The Dioguardis—they had found us. My heart thudded painfully, but I tried to sound calm. “You mean outside, on the street?”

He frowned. “Inside.”

“Actually in the apartment?”

He nodded, and my first thought was, Thank God. Nick’s family would hardly break in, speak once, and then hide in the back room. They’d snatch Geordi and go, and he wouldn’t be in my arms right now. And then what he’d said sunk in and my blood turned to ice.

I said carefully, “You mean out in the hall, right?”

The frown became a glare—usually I took him more seriously. “Inside.”

I blew out a breath. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I know you meant in here. But”—I made a show of glancing around, my gaze lingering on Eric, who studiously avoided eye contact—“there’s no one here. Is there?”

Geordi shook his head, but less certainly. “I heard something. And when I looked around, I heard it again.”

A faint flush rose on the back of Eric’s neck, and I forced my jaw to unclench….

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