Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: Presumed Dead

Presumed Dead
Shirley Wells


Harlequin/July 2010

Received for Review (Carina Press/NetGalley)

From the publisher'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.

Dylan Scott's life has been really messed up. Nothing seems to be going his way but when he finally gets a job it's not exactly something he wants to take but beggars can't be choosers and it will get him away from his mother, if only for a little while. Dylan doesn't think he'll find Anita Champion, it's been too long, but her daughter is willing to pay and Dylan needs the money.

The more Dylan finds out about Anita, the more he understands her and he is certain she never would have left her daughter. Not willingly. As Dylan starts connecting the dots he finds even more questions and realizes this isn't the case of an irresponsible women taking off in the middle of the night. The way the author, Wells, lead Dylan along, finding the different clues and piecing them together to make that final picture kept and held my interest. I never thought Anita was still alive but I did want to know what happened to her - why she left and were she had gone. I think for a mystery to work the reader needs to not only want to read the steps in discovery the truth but also to know the why of the mystery. Wells does a good job delivering both.

In addition to the mystery there is also a subplot concerning Dylan's marriage. He's been kicked out of his home, his wife is barely talking to him and his relationship with his son is sliding down hill. Dylan is certain his wife, Bev, will come around and let him move back home. I liked how Dylan's marital problems also reflected on his state of mind when searching for answers about Anita's disappearance. He doesn't understand why the wife he loves kicked him out. He doesn't understand why Anita Champion abandoned her daughter that she loved very much. As he slowly unravels the mystery of Anita's disappearance, he slowly understands why his wife kicked him out. Dylan is smart and applies that intelligence to solving the case. He's a little slower when it comes to his own personal mystery of his wife and their marriage.

Overall, a good solid mystery with interesting characters, plot and a dash of humor thrown in. I also liked the British flavor the book held. There were a few words that I had to look up to be certain of their meaning but I did enjoy the feel it gave the story. There was no doubt this book took place in England and the characterization of the people and country reflected that.

Rating: B+


  1. I enjoyed the review I will have to add this book to my TBR list.

  2. Sounds interesting. I'll have to keep this one in mind when I'm in the mood for a mystery.

  3. Myra ~ I'm glad you enjoyed the review & hope you'll enjoy the book too. :)

    Christine ~ It's a good read and easy to get into.

  4. Interesting and different. I think Carina Press is doing a great job :)

  5. Thanks for the review, Leslie. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  6. Nath ~ Carina Press is doing a good job with the variety of books published.

    Shirley ~ you're very welcomed! I hope there are more Dylan Scott novels in the future.