Review: Presumed Dead

Posted October 12, 2010 by Jen in 4 stars, Giveaway, Mystery-Suspense Fiction, Rating A, Reviews Tags: , ,

Presumed Dead
Release Date: July 26, 2010
Publisher: Carina Press
Dylan Scott Mysteries Book #1
ISBN: #978-1426890444
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format(s): e-book
I received a e-copy of this book from the author for the purposes of an honest review.

From the author’s website:

      Dylan Scott has problems. Dismissed in disgrace from the police force for assaulting a suspect, he has no job, his wife has thrown him out and—worse luck—his mother has moved in. So when Holly Champion begs him to investigate the disappearance of her mother thirteen years ago, he can’t say no, even though it means taking up residence in the dreary Lancashire town of Dawson’s Clough for the duration.
      Although the local police still believe Anita Champion took off for a better life, Dylan’s inquiries turn up plenty of potential suspects: the drug-dealing, muscle-bound bouncer at the club where Anita was last seen; the missing woman’s four girlfriends, out for revenge; the local landowner with rumored mob connections—the list goes on. But no one is telling Dylan all they know—and he soon finds that one sleepy Northern town can keep a lot of secrets.

What I’m talking about:

      Heads up and note: THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE. THIS IS NOT A PARANORMAL-THEMED BOOK! *shock* I know… I can expand my horizons!
      Okay, so now that I have that out of the way, I want to tell you about this great mystery I just read… First of all, we have our hero, Dylan Scott. The poor man has had a bit of a tough run and we catch him trying to pull his life back to some normalcy. After being kicked off the police force and spending time in jail, his self-esteem and pride have taken a huge hit. His wife is tired of his attitude and kicks him out. Dylan’s chance to turn himself around falls to Holly Champion.  He is contacted by Holly to find her missing mother and she persuades him by insisting he is the only one for the job. In order to repair some of the problems in his life, Dylan decides to take on the case, even though he is convinced that nothing good will come of it.
      I like Dylan. He’s a good man. His investigative technics are not unusual, but he is so personable that he gets the information he needs from complete strangers. I enjoyed following him around as he searched for the truth.  In addition, he is convinced that his wife, Bev, will see the errors of her ways and allow him back into the marital home.  His ignorance of their problems, his honest desire to return home and his interactions with his son, Luke, helped shape Dylan and create a lovable character. I found myself pulling for this poor, deluded man the whole time. I shared his enthusiasm for his work and his desire to return home.
      The mystery itself is captivating. The story pulled me in quickly, using multiple point-of-views to tell the tale. We are not only privy to Dylan’s thought-process, but we are able to see what the suspects and other players are up to with this very effective writing style. Each turn of events had me guessing and re-writing theories in my mind.
      The side characters are also enjoyable. Dylan’s mom doesn’t make much of an appearance, but she is a hoot (or at least how she bothers Dylan is). Simple Stevie is one of those observant, mis-treated, pleasant characters that everyone overlooks except Dylan. And again, Dylan shines in his relationship with Stevie.  All of the suspects are plausible and interesting.  All-in-all, this is an enjoyable story!

My Rating: 

Really enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
READERS: Don’t forget… The author, Shirley Wells, has generously donated an electronic copy of her book, Presumed Dead to giveaway to you.  Please leave a comment on this review or on yesterday’s interview with Ms. Wells. The contest is open to everyone (international).  Comments must be posted by Thursday October 14, 2010 at 9:00PM EDT.

26 responses to “Review: Presumed Dead

  1. I had no idea Carina Press also publishes other genres than romance. How short-sighted of me, huh? 😀
    Loved your review and it sounds like a great mystery but I think I’m gonna stick to romances for a while, so no need to enter me.

  2. Abhishek, hi! Thanks for entering.

    Hi, Janna. Yes, Carina Press publishes lots of great books in almost every genre going. And they publish really great erotic romance. 🙂

  3. Ref: worse luck—his mother has moved in.

    If I knew nothing else about this book, this line alone is incentive enough to buy.

    A great review and you lucked out with a terrific cover to boot.

    Congrats. Shirley!

  4. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little paranormal break and this one sounds very intriguing. Glad there is another book in the works, I always like a good series:) Nice review!

  5. Keri, I love that about Carina too. I’ve bought mysteries, contemporary and historical romances and even a paranormal from them. They’re costing me a fortune. 🙂

    Mandi, isn’t it great that Jen read a non-PNR? Lol, there’s hope yet!

    Toni, thank you so much. I hope you enjoy it!

    Maria, thank you! And I love the cover. In fact, I haven’t seen a cover from Carina that I haven’t liked.

    Jenny, that’s exactly how I feel about my reading. At the moment, I’m taking a break from mystery and contemporary romance to read sci-fi. And loving it. 🙂

  6. Woo hoo! Ebook give away! I have an embarrassing number of Carina Press books on my Pocket waiting to be read. But there’s always room for one more!

  7. Christine, thank you so much! That cover really is gorgeous, isn’t it? The Carina Press art department rocks!

    Susanna, lol. Thank you for such enthusiasm. 🙂 Needless to say I’m thrilled that Dylan is proving such a big hit with people.

  8. I love to find new authors and promote them if I love the book. My favorite way is to turn the covers facing out at grocery stores and book stores. I will have to check this one out (if I don’t win it that is). Always love finding a new author!

  9. Thank you, Una and Lucy!

    Karia, authors LOVE people turning the covers to face out in book stores. It saves us having to sneak in and do it ourselves. 😉