Mystery Review  

 
Deep Sleep
By Charles Wilson
St Martinís, January, 2001
ISBN:0-312-26696-0

 

It has been a long time since I got a really warm fuzzy feeling from a mystery/crime story like I did when I opened Deep Sleep, Charles Wilsonís novel about murder and a compelling Louisiana whodunit due to be out early in 2001.

With itís voodoo practice, wandering zombies, experimental sleep therapies, multiple murders, disappearances, policemen everywhere, ritualistic dancing in the night, alligator-infested swamps, innocents being hunted by misshapen monsters - it has everything.  And I mean everything.  It reminded me of Saturday mornings, when my sister and I would sit spellbound in front of the television set and watch old Charlie Chan mysteries.  The only thing missing was Jackson, Chanís frightened and horror-filled black chauffeur, running around in-between scenes of the book, screaming: ďItís da voodoos I tells ya!  Itís da voodoos!Ē

The story starts when two policemen are called out in the middle of a dark and foggy night to investigate a murder at an old plantation house set near a swamp.  The house is being used by a Dr. Shasha Dominique, a black woman with a questionable past, whose mother long ago was involved in voodoo and arrested and tried for the murder of another.  Dr. Dominique is running a sleep clinic at present at the plantation house and a woman has been found murdered near the clinic. Later two more victims are found in the swamp close by.

A murderer, supposedly a sexually obsessed crazy/turned zombie is chasing one and all in the middle of the Louisiana lowlands, attempting to kill anyone in his sight.  Police dive into the waterlands and victims scatter like ducks from a pond as this maniac terrorizes the entire community. ďHow is the sleep clinic tied into the whole affair?Ē wonders the police detective in charge, who doubts his ability to solve the crimes as he only recently was involved in a tragic police case gone sour which resulted in the death of a victim he was charged to protect.

Doctors specializing in dream therapy are consulted, neighbors are rung up on the phone, other voodoo practitioners give their advice, and a mysterious woman appears on the scene, investigating Dr. Dominique as well.  Who holds the answer to the riddle of why and who is responsible for the killing and panic that has gripped the countryside?  And who will live to tell about it?  

Robert L. Hall
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

Also from Charles Wilson: GAME PLAN,St. Martin's Press "Lead Paperback of the Month"Selected by the New York Review of Books Readers' Catalog as among the "Best Books In Print"(in stores December 2000). and THE CASSANDRA PROPHECY,Trade paper from GrayStone Publishing (in stores March 2001).