Stages of Grey (Dulcie Schwartz Mystery)
by Clea Simon
Review by Gayle Surrette
Severn House Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: B00MHREUD2
Date: 01 October 2014
Dulcie Schwartz is getting a lot of pressure from her dissertation adviser, who is also the department chair, to finish her writing and get ready to defend. Dulcie feels she's got a lot more research to do and has recently found some new evidence to support her theories.
That's not the only pressure in her life. She believes that her boyfriend, Chris, is really a werewolf. This story doesn't take place in an alternate universe and isn't an urban fantasy. Dulcie is a graduate student studying Gothic literature and she has a very, very, active imagination. She's predisposed to confuse reality with fantasy, even though she believes firmly that she only deals with facts. This is what makes her such an endearing and frustrating point of view character.
It's winter. It's cold. Writing and researching her paper, while teaching classes and trying to keep her relationships with Chris and friends from fraying, is adding more items for Dulcie to stress over. Her friends want to attend a new experimental theater. Dulcie agrees it could be fun even though funds are almost as tight as her schedule. However, an unfortunate misadventure at night on the ice leads to Dulcie getting free tickets to the show for herself and a friend.
With werewolves on her mind with a side thought to possible vampire incursions, Dulcie is primed for adventure when shortly after the play, one of the actors is murdered. Dulcie gets warned off, but the theater cat escaped on the same night the actor got killed. Dulcie worries for the cat being out in the cold, snowy weather. No matter how many times she's warned off, she continues to get involved with the people at the theater.
This is one of those books where the reader gets so caught up in the narrative that you try to help the main character. You have to keep on reading because you continue to hope against hope that Dulcie will make the right decisions, or at least have a lot of luck if she makes the wrong ones. The writing draws in the reader and keeps them enthralled.