Fiction - Paranormal
237 Pages
Reviewed on 11/12/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Anita Dickason is a retired police officer with twenty-seven years of experience, twenty-two with the Dallas Police Department. She served in patrol, undercover narcotics, accident investigation, and tactical officer and the first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.

Her fictional works are suspense/thrillers. Anita uses her extensive law enforcement knowledge and experience to create her plots and characters. Her love of Native American, Irish, and Scottish myths and legends adds a touch of mysticism.

After retiring, Anita decided to try her hand at writing. She came across a website that ran a 500-word short story contest. Each month a picture was posted, and contestants had to write about the picture. Intrigued by the image of a tattered and broken doll standing in a decrepit room, she submitted a story titled, Not Dead, Not Dead. To her surprise, she won 3rd place. As she claims, that’s all it took, and she was hooked on writing.

Though Anita has gone on to write the award-winning FBI Tracker novels, she’s never forgotten that first short story, or her desire to turn it into a full-length novel. In Not Dead, the doll is still center stage, in the plot, and on the cover. And, by the way, the doll does exist. It’s sold for use in Halloween houses.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite

When four-year-old Mandy Norton is abducted from her own back yard, Chad Bishop springs into action. A big-city cop in a small town knows just the moves to play; unfortunately, so too does the new editor of the Tribune. Butting heads over the disappearance, Chad learns that this feisty reporter is the girl’s aunt and, given her skills in investigative journalism and her ability to uncover leads and sources, they would work better together than apart. As the investigation unfolds, it appears that Mandy is not the only child to be snatched from a small town. One thing is for certain, whoever took Mandy is in for more trouble than they can handle, especially when a familiar fog and hidden whispers once more bid for Chad’s attention. He has seen this before, and it almost cost him his sanity. This time, the price could be far higher. Can he find Mandy before the unspeakable happens?

Not Dead is a suspenseful thriller with just a hint of the supernatural. I really loved how author Anita Dickason teases the reader. She plays your curiosity like a finely tuned fiddle, enticing you to read on and discover more about the characters, their pasts, the strange events unfolding and, most importantly, whether they will find Mandy alive, or at all? The characters are expertly developed and it was so easy to become invested in their personal plights, sympathize with them, and fear for their safety. The third-person style gives the reader insight into many perceptions, even a few which really played on the heartstrings. Beautifully written from beginning to end and presented in a gripping and concise manner. If you’re looking for a good mystery plot that will pull you in hook, line, and sinker, then Not Dead by Anita Dickason is it.

Samantha Gregory

Not Dead by Anita Dickason tells the story of a young girl, Mandy, who is kidnapped, and the cop tasked with finding her. She was lured away by a doll bought in a local thrift store and it is left in the yard of her home. As they search for the little girl, Chad Bishop, the police chief, finds himself spooked by the fog that surrounds the town. There is something sinister lurking, he is sure of it. Chad is dealing with some ghosts from his past and the case is hard on him. Joining in the search is Ashley, a local reporter and Mandy's aunt. Secrets are revealed and they face a race against time before it is too late.

Anita Dickason has written an entertaining and creepy tale with Not Dead. The story grabbed me from the opening page as we know exactly what the man has planned with the dolls, but there is a certain level of creepiness too in the way the clerk doesn't remember the doll or pricing it. There were a lot of twists and I kept reading to find out what happened next. It almost has an '80s horror feel to it, which is a good thing. I thought the characters were interesting and the story progressed at a good pace. Child abduction is not an easy subject to read about, but I think that the author handled it well. I would recommend it to paranormal thriller fans as I think they would enjoy it.

Trudi LoPreto

In Not Dead by Anita Dickason, Chad Bishop is the police chief doing all he can to find a little girl before it is too late. Ashley Logan is a thorn in his side, is usually one step ahead of him, and she is also Mandy’s aunt. Slowly Chad and Ashley learn to care about and respect each other's talents to solve this case quickly, and so they begin to work together. An old doll holds clues and answers and leads the pair into danger and discovery. Ashley finds herself in a few scary situations but it seems that Chad is always there to save her. Chad works day and night; he cannot rest until he finds Mandy and hopefully can bring her home alive.

Not Dead is an interesting book, mixing a murder mystery story with the paranormal world. I was immediately drawn into the abduction case and so hoped that little Mandy would be found. I felt Not Dead to be more of a really good mystery with a little paranormal stuff thrown in. The character development between Chad and Ashley added to the reading enjoyment. While we were given an idea of who the kidnappers were, there was not much information on where or how little Mandy was doing, making it harder to put my kindle down. The twist in the ending is one I did not really expect. If you enjoy a good mystery without a lot of gore and guts and are a fan of the paranormal, Not Dead by Anita Dickason is a must-read.

Asher Syed

Not Dead by Anita Dickason is a thriller that follows the disappearance of four-year-old Mandy Norton in Meridian, Texas. After a grown man purchases a strange doll at a thrift store, the man and a little girl are nowhere to be found...but the old doll her kidnapper purchased to lure her in is picked up from the family's back yard by Ashley Logan, Mandy's aunt and the town's newspaper editor. Police Chief Chad Bishop leads the investigation, but even before it gets off the ground he's having bizarre, chimerical feelings of dread—which only grow as the investigation deepens and both his past and clues pertaining to Mandy's disappearance begin to come to light.

Not Dead by Anita Dickason sits firmly in the top five books I've read this year (and I have read piles of them). The tension is ripe and the suspense crawls off every page. Chad and Ashley are incredible points of view characters, giving insight into their own leads and the unfolding of a case that is incredibly personal to both of them. There are also glimpses from the kidnapper and from little Mandy, the latter being poignant enough to rip a heart to shreds. The relationship between Chad and Ashley grew on me at about the same pace it grew on them, and I ultimately enjoyed the additional storyline. This is not a book for the faint of heart and the twists and turns are sublime, particularly as it charges toward the climax...and the meaning behind the book's title is exposed with a vision that will make even the bravest reader's skin crawl.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Not Dead by Anita Dickason is a paranormal thriller. Chad Bishop is the new police chief for Meridian, with a past he wants desperately to forget. Ashley Logan is the new reporter and when her four-year-old niece, Mandy Norton, goes missing, she wants in on the investigation. An eerie fog drops down over the town but Chad ignores the ominous warnings from within it. As the days pass, details start to emerge that send the case on a deadly spiral and still the fog is there. Chad brushes all thoughts of his past to one side until events throw him right back into having to face his terrors as they creep out of the fog. This time, there is far more than his sanity or his career on the line. Will Chad and Ashley find Mandy? And what is the connection with the doll named Betsy?

Not Dead by Anita Dickason is a gripping, compelling read; once you start it, you won't put it down until you’ve finished. This a police thriller with a touch of the supernatural woven through it and Ms. Dickason’s police background comes through very well in the detail she provides. The plot is unique, paced steadily with plenty of action and lots of neat twists and turns, leading to a thrilling ending. The characters are well-developed, with enough backstory to let us get to know who they are and what brings them to this point in their lives. The story is peppered with the inevitable romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this edge-of-the-seat thriller that I just couldn’t put down. I would love to read more in this vein from Anita Dickason in the future.