Annabelle Lee is a mess. Her PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) started while she was recovering bodies after Hurricane Katrina. At that time her intake of alcohol increased. Then, while Annabelle was holding her, her sister died from an allergic reaction to fairy bites. At this time Annabelle discovered she was immune to fairy venom. Survivor’s guilt hit her hard (with a lot of help from her parents) and substance abuse became a reality. Like all addicts, Annabelle is having trouble admitting that addiction is a fact.
PTSD stinks. I have had to work my way through my share of it and have known plenty of people who fight its insidious web. While it gets better with time and the right kind of therapy (and often medication), PTSD never quite goes away. Every once in a while a memory clobbers my gut, and I find myself having to work my way through it again. Annabelle has a lot of memories and pictures stuck in her mind and new ones are added to it due to her immunity.
Being immune to fairy bites means that Annabelle functions as a CSI at body sites. Non-immune people have to put on an iron protective suit so they won’t get bitten by the fairies. That takes time and suits are limited in how well they protect a person. So immune people are used for difficult and time sensitive jobs. Bodies and the hot and humid swamps of Louisiana do not go well together. Children’s bodies are no exception. Self-medication becomes a must for survival for Annabelle. So does figuring out why on earth Grace’s body was dumped outside the protective iron fence around Donaldsonville.
Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay was a fascinating read about serious issues. Immensely serious. Dead on the Delta was also a fun mystery with plenty of mayhem occurring on its pages. Annabelle Lee was a delight. Her compatriots were as eccentric as she, and her non-compatriots were just as fascinating. If the real Donaldsonville is filled with people like the ones in Dead on the Delta, it must be an interesting place to live.
Cryptome (2005) Recovery crews after Hurricane Katrina (Warning: Graphic pictures)
Morgan, Clayton: The Inquest of Incest
Singer, Merill (2010) Environmental Health in Donaldsonville, Louisiana; John Harvey Lowery Foundation