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Dead in the Water is the second book in the Eve Appel Mystery series by Lesley A. Diehl. Camel Press, the publisher of a book I’ve read and reviewed recently (Sticks and Stones) figured that Dead in the Water would be another mystery novel I’d enjoy – and they were right. Dead in the Water was published this July, so it’s already available for ordering.
Eve Appel is a consignment shop owner in Sabal Bay, a place in hot Florida. Eve is quite happy to hear from her uncle Winston and pleased to have him visit her after a long time. She is quite surprised to see him accompanied by his girlfriend, Darlene, but glad that her uncle is not alone, as he is not the youngest anymore either.
The couple are interested in taking part in various activities, and what really peaked their curiosity was the popular airboat ride through the local swamps.
As nice as the visit started, as badly it would end: uncle Winston gets shot in the head and dies instantly. From the looks of it, uncle Winston might have been involved with the wrong people, resulting in a mob hit. But why?
Eve has an inquisitive mind and likes to do detective work in her spare time, and this is exactly what she will do to try to find out more about the motives for the killing. The more she learns, the more she realizes that indeed her uncle might have been a mobster himself and his visit to Eve was not as pure as it might seem. The different avenues and threads that Eve has to follow take her from the mob to Russians who have their own hidden agendas, creating some surprising twists and turns along the way.
The cozy mystery is quite fun to read and even though I haven’t read the first book in the series, Dead in the Water can be read as a standalone without major problems. It’s definitely not a boring book! Crime, murder, kidnapping – all make fur a suspenseful and fast paced whodunit.
Over time it seemed that the various pieces of information that the author gave us were in fact carefully placed red herrings, which made me reconsider every time I thought I knew who did what and who was who. There were too many secrets and literally every person in the book had at least one kept hidden from the rest. Pretty much everyone their own agenda – and not many agendas were accompanied by a peaceful label attached to them.
The people the author brought to life are really fleshed out and fun to learn about. I think the only time I really yearned to have read the first book in the series was regarding Eve’s mobster friend Nappi Napolitani, who seems to be a character all by himself. I would definitely want to learn more about him – I bet he has an intriguing story to tell.
Eve’s boyfriend, PI Alex Montgomery, seems to be more away than present, and this is also a character that I wish I knew more about – he probably also features in the author’s first book, and hopefully more than in this second one.
And speaking of characters, the Miccosukee Indian guy who helps Eve in her investigation, along with his father, is yet another person that I want to read more about. He seems positively delicious. Secretive, intriguing and full of mystery – I love this combination.
In fact none of the characters presented in the book lack intrigue. Darlene is a mystery all by herself, and uncle Winston’s 3 Russian step children give a few twists in and dangerous turns in the book as well. Not to mention that at some point everyone becomes a suspect in Eve’s mind. And when the killer is revealed, it is quite a surprise, I assume, to many.
Overall this is a well crafted cozy mystery that has action, adventure and detective work involved through a few interesting and fun characters to read about. While reading the book I got intrigued enough by Eve and her list of quirky friends that I’d like to read more books in the series. Especially about Eve’s Indian friend.