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Play Dead (Elise Sandburg Series #1)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  2,238 ratings  ·  227 reviews
No one understands the dark side of Savannah better than homicide detective Elise Sandburg. As an infant, she was thought to be the daughter of a famous root doctor--and was abandoned in an ancient Low Country cemetery. Growing up, she was haunted by her possible connection to the local Gullah culture--with its spells and voodoo. Now, however, there'
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Onyx (first published January 1st 2004)
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Really enjoyed this story, bit creepy and loved the flawed David. This is my second by this author and I am liking her writing, very easy to read. I didn't want to put this one down. Looking forward to the sequel.
Heather Fineisen
Love the Savannah, GA setting and the chemistry between detectives Elise and David. The whole zombie science was interesting and the who done it wasn't obvious. Definitely a series to follow.
Agnes (BeaderBubbe)
Didnt think I would like this book so much.....voodoo, witchcraft, darkness, night, weird things happening.....but it grabbed me and didnt let go. Great story, with happy, sad and a few surprises...what you thought you knew...well, that changed in the end. Takes place in Savannah Georgia.....with Det Elise Sandburg investigating a mysterious homicide....she herself has mystery surrounding her - being left in a cemetery as an infant -

Things get hot by mid book...alot of murders happening, until
‘Play Dead’ is a fun take on the somewhat overdone zombie genre. Frasier gets back to the zombie roots, ignoring the scientific, weaponized creation of zombies and looking at the voodoo/hoodoo roots of zombie creation. Now, don’t let that fool you, this is not a “horror” novel. While I initially got the book because it was listed as a voodoo-horror-novel, it’s actually a mystery-crime story, and the “zombies” aren’t really supernatural creatures at all. In fact, zombies are really just a side no ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I didn't think I would like this as much as I did.
I mean the relationship between the two characters was a given.
Almost predictable in my book. But it was a quick read, so I might read the rest in this series.
Elaine Bergstrom
Southern gothic, voodoo, people mostly dead rising from embalming tables, root doctors, strange murders. Where have I read that before? Oh, wait, I wrote something like that with "Leanna" and have always had a taste for this brand of macabre. And since "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is one of my favorite books, and "Play Dead" is also set in Savannah, I read the blurb on Book Bub, downloaded the novel and was hooked.
Frasier is apparently known for some horrific murder mysteries, but P
This was a really interesting book. I put this book in the fiction sub-category of southern gothic - it is a suspense/murder mystery, but the sort of legends within the story and elements of voodoo, conjuring, and root work add something extra for me.

Elise is a detective, and also a struggling single mom. She has ultimately sacrificed her relationship with her daughter to her job, preferring to think of her daughter as having a more whole and normal life living with her Dad and step-mom. David
Karen Fowler
Despite the fact that I have numerous other books in my to-be-read pile I couldn't help moving Play Dead to the front based on the cover alone. It's fantastically creepy and morose. Which I was apparently in the mood for when I started reading this earlier today.

Ironically, after I finished the book I realized that I've recently read another book by Frasier (HUSH) and while I enjoyed that one, I adored this novel.

Set in the sweltering south amid voodoo lore and "root doctoring" (a phrase I had
"As he always said, what doesnt kill you, makes you bitter"

Play dead was a free kindle book i picked up on recommendation from a colleague. as such, i had done no research on what the book was about, so this was a complete surprise, and didnt go where i expected.

The book concerns a series of "murders" where men are waking up during autopsy,or coming back from the dead, but the last thing i expected was for the book to lead in a mystical voodoo direction.

The detectives were suitably flawed - Da
Dalton Lynne
This was my first Anne Frasier book. I think I ordered it from Amazon, trying to meet that $25 amount for free shipping. LOL What a great find though. The book was very hard to put down; I had to pace myself. I find myself wishing a sequel had been written because I'd really like to know if something more develops between the lead characters. Loved that the book took place in Savannah - it added great atmosphere to the novel. Loved the writing style too - not too wordy, short, concise sentences. ...more
Think of Savannah, and you invariably conjure up images of stately mansions, a city awash in history, and so much more. I don't often think of it as a place of voodo and dark mystery, but this book changed that for me.

A medical examiner is flying solo on a forensic exam. He has sent home his assistant because a storm is pending, electing to stay and finish the exam. As he's about to make the first cut in the infamous Y incision, the body moves and groans. Horrified, he ultimately holds a mirror
This is Book One in a new detective series featuring homicide detectives Elise Sandburg and David Gould. It is set in Savannah, where an interesting mix of voodoo, magic, and kudzu adds a rich atmosphere to the plot - indeed, Savannah itself can definitely be considered a “character” in this series.

The story begins in the morgue, where some bodies are discovered of people who are not actually dead; rather, they have been paralyzed by the toxin TTX, or Tetrodotoxin. TTX is a naturally occurring p
I have never read a book by this author before but would definitely read another. This was a fantastic crime thriller! Kept me gripped the whole way through and thinking about it when I wasn't reading it!

The story features the main characters detectives Elise and David are thrown together when David resigns from the FBI and comes to live and work in savannah. Elise isn't happy with David who is secretive about his past, weird, has a drinking problem and an even bigger attitude problem that stop

"Evil doesn't need a reason to exist."

Left as a baby in a cemetery because of her strange eyes, the daughter of a conjure man, Elise explores her past in an attempt to solve horrific TTX-related murders. It takes her into a world of black magic, where she came from and desperately has tried to put away in favor of a "more reasonable" life as a detective.

I read the two books in this series (Play Dead and Stay Dead) in reverse order. Play Dead is the first in the series and I think it is the cre
Jennifer Irving
I'm one of those strange people who love zombies, hoodoo, and New Orleans history and mythology. This book promised to give me all of that.

I won't say it failed miserably, but it left me very disappointed by the end. I'm a simple girl too, lots of time gaps bother me, along with constantly changing the point of view with the story. Sometimes it can be fine effectively, but in this book, it was done way to frequently, and sometimes it took me a page or so to figure out the POV had changed.

I also
Amber Schroer
I was under the impression that the book would be more "urban fantasy", but it was clearly grounded in reality. It was yet another series of "mismatched" detectives with creative back stories bound to fall for each other while solving a crime. The one thing setting this series apart was the black magic theme that one was lead to believe would be a major part of the plot's progress, but I felt cheated. It seemed to distract the reader from the lack of depth in each character and in the plot itsel ...more
Karen Patterson
Set in Savannah where superstition and hauntings are considered the norm, you have (1) a detective who was left as a baby at a cemetery and believed to be the daughter of a well-known root doctor with eyes of all colors (Elise), (2) a new partner (David) who is ex-FBI with a tortured past and intent on destroying himself, (3) the local madam (Strata Luna) who only wears all black with a veil carrying a checkered past of her own and feared by all, and (4) a mystery involving bodies which are pres ...more


There wasn't much character development as I would have liked to see in the main character. The use of root magic as a plot driver could have been developed more as well

Nice twist at the end. Debating on picking up number 2.
I can't finish this. I may have been able to get into the murder mystery, but the cliche relationship between the male and female detectives is preventing that. But I guess I expected that, as I added it to my FluffStuff shelf before I even started it.
David Donaghe
This chilling tale takes you deep into the underbelly of Savannah's subculture to a place where the dead won't stay dead. It takes you a part of Savanna that the tourist rarely see. Play dead was an exciting read and I think you will enjoy it.
Linda Appelbaum
Zombies, voodoo, tunnels under Savannah with creepy things in them, a detective who was left in a cemetery as a baby (fathered by a root doctor), bodies that aren't really dead afterall, a madam who supposedly ate her daughter's heart and scares the death out of most of the people who know her - this book is full of spooky stuff that held my interest to the very end. People seem dead but aren't - who is doing it and why, along with the background story of the 2 detectives on the case makes for a ...more
I loved this book!! It kept me guessing from beginning to end. At any given time, I had included or eliminated everyone as a suspect.

This is the first book in the Elise Sandburg series by Anne Frasier. In this book, we are introduced to Elise, a homicide detective in Savannah, Georgia. Because of her strange background, Elise is sensitive to all different kinds of spirituality, especially those things that come from black magic and the darker arts. And someone is murdering people who seem to ha
Tina Rae
Apr 09, 2015 Tina Rae rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery/thriller fans
So, let me start off by saying that I borrowed this book with my Amazon Prime account all the way back in June. And, for some unknown reason, allowed it to just sit on my kindle all this time. I have no idea why I waited so long to read it. This book was absolutely phenomenal. And, of course, upon finishing I immediately borrowed the next book in the series, haha.

Right from the get go, this book intrigued me. The premise is so unusual and so interesting that it just pulled me right in. And, hone
Anne Frasier, aka Theresa Weir, wrote a complex contemporary thriller with a strong heroine when she completed the book PLAY DEAD. Elise Sandberg, a divorced police detective with a 13 year old daughter who would rather spend her time elsewhere, faces off voodoo, living zombies and a serial killer on the loose in Savannah, GA.

Elise was a competent and respected woman yet vulnerable when it came to her daughter, Audrey. Her partner on the force, David Gould, has many imperfections with ghosts su
J.C. Hart
I'm pretty sure that I picked this up from the Kindle Free Bestseller list awhile back, as I really liked the premise. I love these kind of books and the combination of crime and the occult always appeals. I very quickly got hooked and this one did not disappoint.

I really liked Elise as a character - she's flawed, strong, has an interesting past and a mystery to her origins which comes directly into play with the main plot line. She has a teenager daughter who is reluctant to have anything to do
Oct 06, 2011 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes suspense, mystery, and off-beat Southern culture
Shelves: read-in-2011
I really enjoyed this book! It was very interesting, and I found it hard to put down. I don't get why people say this book has a supernatural ending; maybe I missed something, but the supernatural was an undertone in this book and it is never directly stated whether the "supernatural" or "paranormal" actually exists.

On a side note, I was very surprised when (view spoiler)
Matt Schiariti
Mix two main characters with a great deal of baggage, some southern voodoo and Savannah lore and a series of murders and bodies that seem to be dead but aren't REALLY dead and what do you get? Another fantastic Anne Frasier thriller.

This is the second book I've read by Anne Frasier. The first was Hush which I absolutely loved. Play Dead cements Anne Frasier at the top of my list of favorite mystery/thriller writers.

As with Hush the core of this novel is the characters. Frasier seems to be able t
C.C. Thomas
This book takes place in Savannah and is there any more literary city in America? To read this book made me feel the passion and heat and intensity of that Southern city almost as soon as I opened those pages.

In this cunning mystery, someone is kidnapping victims, torturing them and then dumping them, leaving them as if dead all over the city. Except they're not quite dead. Some of them wake up in the morgue after the pronouncement of death and officials soon realize the killer is giving the vic
"I had a special place there. A secret place. A place where we could both play dead."

Play Dead is, on the surface, a police procedural with paranormal connotations. Delve a little deeper, however, and the voodoo cult-like acceptance of Victorian era myths enriched in Savannah become paramount to the character's psyche and their interactions amongst themselves. 'Play Dead' is an engrossing story involving an atypical murder case turned serial and the fly on the wall police perspective of those as
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Anne Frasier (a.k.a. Theresa Weir) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-plus books and numerous short stories that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, fantasy, and memoir. During her award-winning career, she's written for Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Books/Random House, Silhouett ...more
More about Anne Frasier...

Other Books in the Series

Elise Sandburg Series (3 books)
  • Stay Dead (Elise Sandburg #2)
  • Pretty Dead (Elise Sandburg #3)

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“He could really fool the shit out of himself. A guy had to be careful about creating his own reality. Because you could get lost in it, so lost that it was hard to get back to the real world.” 1 likes
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