James McStravick reviews Dead Down East by Carl Schmidt
Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, narrates the tale.
Jesse’s vacation on Great Pond is cut short when he receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor of Maine, had been assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide Jesse any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse agrees to help.
Within a week, he has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. Jesse assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, an eccentric psychic and his zesty girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of seven of the governor’s former mistresses.
When I was first asked to review Dead Down East, I was a little unsure. I don’t always go for crime novels because I sometimes find they can be dragged out and a bit dull, but when I read the synopsis for Dead Down East I became interested by it. I quickly realised that it was a very fast paced and fun book to read due to the writing style the author has adopted for the book.
I sometimes find that when authors write crime novels, certain aspects such as clues and scenes discussing the criminal can be long and drawn out, and for the most part I didn’t find this was the case here. Carl Schmidt gives you information about the crime, clues, but it is done in a way so that it doesn’t lead to you guessing who the killer is too early in the book.
When reading crime novels, I sometimes feel that certain characteristics are reused in other characters, but Dead Down East definitely didn’t have this problem. When it came to the characterisation I thought that each characters’ personality and unique traits were done quite well. The only aspect of characterisation I felt let the book down a bit was that I found characters sometimes behaved in certain ways that didn’t seem like part of their personality.
All in all I enjoyed reading Dead Down East. I thought it was a very fun and enjoyable read with a quick pace, which made it very easy to pick up and read. If you enjoy crime novels then I would recommend you read this book if you are looking for a quick and enjoyable read.