A Corpse's Nightmare: A Fever Devilin Novel
The dead can dream; I'll tell you how I know.Things had been quiet in Blue Mountain for so long that we had all come to mistake inertia for contentment. An entire autumn afternoon, for example, could be spent cataloging the images in cumulus clouds. They rushed over the mountain on their way to other, more important places, each with great mythic import. On October 9th I noted three minotaurs moving in the clouds. I made a list of their various postures. Doubtless a propensity for classical literature and a bottle of French pastis combined to color these perceptions. My time at the university had given me a love of mythology. My friend Dr. Winton Andrews had given me the pastis. I might have remained in that happy state of suspended animation for the rest of my life. I've heard or read that some people have that sort of luck. Alas, lazy autumn turned to bitter winter. On the 3rd of December, just before midnight, a total stranger came into my home and shot me as I slept in my bed. I died before the emergency medical team could find their way to my house.But in that sleep of death, what dreams may come?Thus begins the sixth and latest installment of the Fever Devilin mystery series. I love Phillip DePoy's writing, especially the Fever Devilin series. I realize they are not for everyone. They are quirky and often touched with a hint (maybe more than a hint) of mysticism. They are also incredibly literate, strewn with references to writers from Shakespeare to e.e. cummings, ancient myths, folklore, and such. I love the Appalachian setting and the offbeat characters that populate it. The writing is marvelous:Night was coming on. The last of the sunset was gone, and the wind had turned white-cold, a sure snow-sign. The stars, winking on one by one, looked like dots of snow frozen into the Parrish blue sky. Even the moon, low behind black tree silhouettes, was made of ice, late winter's rage.It's not all quite that serious; his humor can make me laugh out loud.In this outing, Fever Devilin wakes up from a three-month coma, after being shot, clinically dead, and revived by medics. Battling the after-effects of the coma, Fever has difficulty separating reality from dreams from hallucinations. But he is determined to find out who shot him and why, and is increasingly convinced that the answer is connected to the contents of a mysterious tin box, once belonging to his late mother, which has gone missing from Fever's home.Along the way, he encounters a crazy quilt of reality and dream, back roads, bootleg liquor, angels, Paris, jazz, family secrets, a secret society, and a mysterious stranger with a Creole accent. The ending leaves some things for Fever and the reader to ponder with a certain ambiguity, but I found it a satisfying read.