Friday, December 2, 2016

The Dead of Winter by Jean Rabe

Though Rabe has over 35 published books, I hadn't heard of her as an author.  I actually purchased this book because I found that I liked her as a person.

Piper has just taken over as the new sheriff in Fulda, Indiana.  She's only twenty-three and her subordinates aren't happy with the fact that she's taking over.  She's not too happy about taking the job when her first murder shows up immediately after she takes office.  The bodies begin to pile up and she finds that her sleepy little town has a serial killer on its hands.  Will she be able to pull her team together in time to catch the murderer, or will the bodies just keep piling up?

I was pleasantly surprised by the mystery content here.  Rabe did an incredible job of throwing in likely suspects along the way.  As a reader, we're just as gung ho to solve the murder as the sheriff's department is, and just as clueless.  Once they figure it out, you're like 'oooh...yeah...yeah...i um...totally thought that too...'  I was half-expecting to find that it was some character we'd never heard of.  Depending upon the type of reader you are, it may be someone you've never heard of.  It's obscure and at the same time, it's staring at you with bright Christmas lights.

The characters are pretty phenomenally put together.  They're realistic and you find yourself empathizing with them.  Most of them.  Each is intriguing and carries heft as an individual.

The murderer...what can I say?  I'm terrified to send Christmas cards now.  Don't worry, that's not a spoiler!  It does take quite awhile to figure out who had motive, means and opportunity.  The way that Rabe was able to get into the killer's mind was fantastically fun.  I never saw it coming.

If you're looking for a fun murder mystery this holiday season, I can't suggest this one enough.  You'll find yourself devouring page after page.  It's not just about solving the murders, but also an urge to see what happens next and who's going to do it.  I'll admit, I fell in love with this little town and I'm anxious for Jean to hurry up and finish the second book so I can jump into it.

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