Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden.
The secret’s name is Annabel Lee.
She doesn’t know why her enigmatic uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”
Miles away in Atlanta, private investigator Trudi Coffey is visited by a mysterious older man calling himself Dr. Smith. He’s been trailing a man for a decade–a man she met through her ex-partner Samuel Hill–and the trail has led him to her office. The last thing Trudi wants to do is to contact Samuel. But it will take both of them to unravel this mystery–before it’s too late.
Run a search for Annabel Lee and you’re likely to come up with a poem by that master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Eventually, you’ll find references to the first novel in a new series by Mike Nappa, a writer not previously known for fiction. He’s created a detective agency called Coffey & Hill Investigations, although only Coffey still works there when the book begins. The absent Hill is constantly – and irritatingly – referred to as ‘The Pig.’ Oh yes, and her receptionist’s first name is Eulalie, another nod to Poe. Meanwhile, an 11-year-old girl is locked underground by her mysterious Uncle Truck, who appears to be a man of many guises. She is only to open the door if the right words are said, which happen to come from the above referenced Poe poem.
For much of Annabel Lee, I found myself continuously wondering what was going on. Why was this girl hidden? Why was the mysterious Dr. Smith looking for her? I wanted to jump to the end so I could make sense of everything. I knew Trudi and Samuel had to survive (you can’t kill off your main characters in the first book of a series about them), but what about the girl, and the sniper named The Mute who also plays a major role in the story? It took until the end for everything to be fully revealed.
I don’t know exactly how I feel about Annabel Lee. It swung between exciting and “Get to the point already.” I’m not sure it’s an out and out Christian novel either. Readers learn about Coffey’s faith early on, although there’s little demonstrated of it. The evil in Dr. Smith’s work was chilling in a non-supernatural way, although what he was doing was messing with the things not of this world. The references to Poe are almost overwhelming, and they look likely to continue since the next book will be called The Raven.
Thank you to Revell for my complimentary copy of Annabel Lee, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Annabel Lee? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 01 March 2016
Page Count: 368
Read more on: Bethany House’s Website