Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay
Publisher: Pocket/May 2011
Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dre-ams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t. Including helping law enforcement— and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town.
But Annabelle isn’t equipped to deal with the murder of a sixyear- old girl or a former lover-turned-FBI snob taking an interest in the case. Suddenly her already bumpy relationship with Cane turns even rockier, and even the most trust-worthy friends become suspects. Annabelle’s life is imploding: between relationship drama, a heartbreaking murder investigation, Breeze-crazed drug runners, and a few too many rum and Cokes, Annabelle is a woman on the run—from her past, toward her future, and into the arms of a darkness waiting just for her. . . .
Looking for an urban fantasy that’s a little bit different? Look no further, because Dead on the Delta is your book. Annabelle Lee is called to collect evidence from the body of a 6 year old that was found outside of the silver fence that is supposed to protect Davidsonville from the flesh eating, venom spewing fairies that dwell inside. Annabelle works for Fairy Control and Containment, and she’s immune to their nasty venom. In Dead on the Delta, fairies are beautiful to look at, but they love the taste of human blood. They don’t love the taste of Annabelle’s blood (it’ll kill ‘em), though, and that’s why she gets paid the big bucks by the FCC. Dealing with the body of a 6 year old is not something she’s equipped to handle, and she’ll do anything to help find the killer, even if it means working with two FBI agents that have come to assist, one of which is her ex-boyfriend Hitch, who she still has feelings for. She’s been with hot cop Cane Cooper for a year and a half now, and he’s looking for a commitment that goes farther than friends with benefits, but Annabelle’s not sure that she’s ready for that. Good thing, then, that Hitch’s disapproval of her (she dropped out of med school and he feels like she’s wasting her life) is palpable, and frankly, he acts like a bit of a douche, so it makes it a bit easier for Annabelle to tuck those old feelings away. This is so not what Annabelle needs. She’s been happy in her slacker lifestyle, taking work for granted, drinking just a few too many beers to get through the day, so the discovery of a dead body, much less a child, and the possibility of a Breeze operation in their midst has her mind reeling. Oh yes, Breeze is a drug made from fairy poop and bleach. Yep, fairy poop. It seems to have much of the same effects that you’d see with PCP users, so yeah, bad, bad stuff.
Dead on the Delta is told in Annabelle’s wry, sarcastic voice, and in spite of her rather self-destructive tendencies, I sort of fell in love with her. There’s actually quite a lot to love, such as her big heart and utter determination to do the right thing, sometimes at her own peril. She gets knocked around quite a lot, physically and emotionally, and as the book progresses, you discover that there may be more to her, magically, than just her fairy venom immunity, and what she eventually discovers is just so darn cool, and rather unique, but I don’t want to give it away, since it’s a big part of what makes this book so much fun. I loved the combination of urban fantasy with a crackling good mystery, and the author snuck in some twists that I didn’t see coming! Seriously, they’re pretty good ones, and once I was halfway through, I couldn’t put it down. I just HAD to find out what happened next. Loved Annabelle, loved Ms. Jay’s cast of odd characters, and loved the mystery of Dead on the Delta! Fast paced, taut writing and unique world building make this a series start that really stands out from the crowd. Can’t wait for the next book, Blood on the Bayou!