Review: Dead Simple by Shirley Wells

Posted January 20, 2015 by Jen in Mystery-Suspense Fiction, Rating A, Reviews Tags: , , ,

Dead Simple
Shirley Wells
Jen Twimom
Rating: A

What I’m Talking About:

Dead Simple is the last Dylan Scott Mystery, which saddens me greatly. So it is appropriate that for his final tale, Dylan heads back to Dawson’s Clough, where the series and his career as a private investigator began. He’s decided to find out who killed Stevie Greenwood, a simple-minded local who helped Dylan solve his first case. He’s doing this one out of personal motivation, driven to fill the huge void in his life left by the sudden death of his beloved wife, Bev.

Dylan is a different man than he was those few years ago. He’s aged, matured, and grown a bit wiser. This is reflected in how he views Dawson’s Clough; seeing changes in the town or noticing bits and pieces he hasn’t before. Ever the astute investigator, Dylan finds a way to get the information he needs to solve his case. And this time around, he’s even willing to break a few laws to give Stevie’s memory some justice (and work out his own demons).

As always, Ms. Wells creates a complex, fact-driven, detail-filled world that captivates me from the get go. Building the case from the first words on the page, she never shares extraneous information, but certainly can lead readers astray. And while it is Dylan’s tale, the story is told from multiple perspectives, which not only gives the reader a better sense of the grand picture, but creates more than one suspect and motive for the crimes.

While searching for the truth about poor Stevie’s demise, Dylan stumbles onto a couple other crimes in progress – ones that even the police don’t know about. I enjoyed the multiple storylines, especially how the author ties them together rather than forces each one to stand alone. And I love reading Dylan’s train of thought – how he puts together pieces of the puzzle so logically. It’s both thrilling and nerve-wracking to see where his ideas take him.

One of the best aspects in each Dylan Scott mystery is the intermixing of Dylan’s personal life with the overall story. Over the course of eight books, I’ve come to know Dylan and his family, his hopes and dreams, his fears and vices. In the previous book, Ms. Wells tossed a major curveball into Dylan’s life with the death of his wife. Left to raise his children and move on through his grief, Dylan realizes what is truly important in life. Ms. Wells handles this period with touching grace, giving life to Bev’s memories. I loved how little things would happen, reminding Dylan of Bev, and it’s all so real for someone who is grieving.

Overall, Dead Simple is a gripping mystery coupled with a heart-warming story of a man dealing with life. The excellent tale is full of twists and turns, with all the pieces fitting together without feeling contrived or rushed. The story is packed with tense moments and rugged emotions, creating an ideal mix. Ms. Wells’ superb storytelling is evident in each of the Dylan Scott stories, and I strongly encourage you to pick one up. Dylan has been a wonderful companion over these past few years, and I am grateful to Ms. Wells for sharing him with me.

My Rating:  A, Loved It


About the Book:

Private investigator Dylan Scott is struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife. He has to cope for the sake of his two children, though it’s easier to blame himself for her death and take comfort in a bottle of whisky.

When he hears that the man who helped him solve his first case has been killed in Dawson’s Clough, Dylan finds a new purpose and vows to put all his energy into finding justice for him. Who would have a motive to kill a kind man like Simple Stevie? As it turns out, everyone.

Dylan’s hunch is that Stevie must have snapped a photo of the wrong person, doing something they want erased, so he focuses his investigation on the town’s residents. But Dylan’s worst fears are realized when he again finds his own family in the crosshairs.

Release Date: January 5, 2015
Carina Press
Dylan Scott #8
Private Eye Mystery
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Dead Simple (Dylan Scott #8)

Reviews in the Series:
Presumed Dead by Shirley Wells (Dylan Scott #1)
Silent Witness by Shirley Wells (Dylan Scott #3)
Dead Calm by Shirley Wells (Dylan Scott #4)
Dying Art by Shirley Wells (Dylan Scott #5)
Deadly Shadows by Shirley Wells (Dylan Scott #6)
Dead End by Shirley Wells (Dylan Scott #7)

4 responses to “Review: Dead Simple by Shirley Wells

  1. This really sounds like it could be awesome on audio. I check on
    audible and the first book is there. I didn’t listen to the sample (I
    will later) but I added to my wish list…Who knows maybe I give it shot
    and see if this a genre for me. I really can picture (with my the guy the reads, Charming (Pax Arcana series) doing really
    well with this…I don’t know the narrator so will see 🙂 This is the second mystery I have added to my list from your blog reviews…I will try one soon!
    Thank you, great job!

    • The author recently reminded me that when I agreed to read and review the first title, I said that I wasn’t sure I’d like it, since I primarily read PNR and UF. Eight books later… 🙂

      It truly is a fabulously written, well-put together series. I adore the mixing of the mystery (trying to solve is awesome) and the glimpses into Dylan’s personal life. I hope you enjoy – please let me know!

  2. I added the first book in the series to my wish list. It sounds like such a great series! Thank you for sharing. I hadn’t heard of this series or this author until today. 🙂
    I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It sounds like a really great read. It sounds like Dylan is a great character that you can really become attached to.