My Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
The story opens with our reluctant hero, Dylan Scott, having a late night run in with the irritable woman staying in the cabin next to his aboard the cruise ship, Midnight Sun. Much to his (and everyone else) surprise, the miserable old woman, Hanna Larsen, is found dead the next morning in her cabin. Everyone assumes it was her heart problems and the stress of traveling that caused her death, but Dylan’s inner private eye sees it differently, especially after he knows he heard someone leaving her cabin at 3:00 AM. Soon Dylan has a fairly long list of suspects and is determined to prove there is more going on than appears.
Once again, Ms. Wells offers a wonderful whodunit with the most lovable Dylan Scott. Dead Calm has all of the ingredients that make each of the full-length Dylan Scott Mysteries engrossing and exciting. Even in this shortened format, the mystery is packed with viable suspects, multiple points-of-view, and a few surprising twists.
I have really grown to love Dylan over the course of reading three (of four) of his stories. He is truly a likable guy - he’s an average “joe,” complete with his own flaws and bad habits. He is annoyed by his mother, doesn’t want to be on this trip, and is obsessed with a dead woman, yet we know he loves his family and does what he can to make them happy. I enjoy reading his point-of-view and seeing how he works out the mystery. I find that I am always trying to solve the case before he does. And while I may guess the correct suspect, there are always doubts planted so that I really am uncertain right up until the end.
For those who have not yet tried one of the Dylan Scott Mysteries, Dead Calm is a great taste of the author’s writing style in a novella-length story. It is offered as a stand alone book, or in a four-author anthology from Carina Press. Although each of the stories are completely stand alone, we do witness wonderful character development from book to book. I also enjoy watching Dylan and wife Bev go from separated to happy once again. SO - if you enjoy a great mystery coupled with stupendous characters and thrilling plots, I highly suggest starting at the beginning with Presumed Dead.