Book Review: “A Dread So Deep” by Anita Rodgers

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Mysteries seem to bring out the worst in people.  I don’t mean in the reader, but in the characters.  Murder.  Deceit.  Infidelity.  Violence.  Otherwise normal-appearing people who are successful businessmen, loving wives, and doting mothers.  Well-manicured lawns that hug stone walkways leading to magazine-cover-perfect homes.  What evil could possibly exist here?

Well, things aren’t always what they seem, are they?

The latest book by mystery writer Anita Rodgers, A Dread So Deep, leads us up to that lovely front door and into the nightmare that is Christine Logan’s life.

Christine Logan is the pretty wife of a successful contractor, Phillip Logan.  A talented artist who teaches painting to children at a local community center, Christine has often had to use her artistic skills to cover her bruises.  Emotionally abandoned by her abusive husband, she recklessly turns to one of her husband’s young employees for comfort.

Recklessness seems to be the one trait the Logans have in common, as Phillip’s choice of mistress proves.

When Christine becomes pregnant with a child Phillip is certain is not his, he orders Christine to have an abortion.

Will Christine give Phillip what he wants, or will she finally defy him and flee with the man she loves?  Will she be trapped with Phillip forever, or will fate intervene?

When Detective Davis and her partner are called in to investigate what looks like an accidental death, the number of possible suspects and motives for murder tells her there is more to discover.  Much more.

With A Dread So Deep, Anita Rodgers has given us a brisk whodunit with plenty of gnarled paths to keep the reader engaged and wondering what’s next.  We’re even treated to a cameo appearance by Scotti Fitzgerald, the plucky and intrepid protagonist of Anita’s Scotti Fitzgerald Mystery series.

So pull up a beach chair and pour yourself a glass of iced tea.  There’s a murder to solve.

About the author:

Anita Rodgers is no stranger to the mystery genre.  Among her other works, she’s the author of the Scotti Fitzgerald Mystery series and The Dead Dog Trilogy.  Her books are available at https://www.amazon.com/Anita-Rodgers/e/B004N8IWY6.

You can also check out her blog at https://writerchick.wordpress.com.

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Book Signing Event!

The Grey Wolfe Scriptorium in Clawson, Michigan.  Bring the kids!

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Winthrop Risk, Detective

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Hey! That’s writing, too!

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With the exception of Sherlock Holmes, I’ve never been a big fan of mysteries. I prefer to watch them, rather than read them. I love the late Jeremy Brett’s version of Sherlock and was instantly hooked by Benedict  Cumberbatch’s modern version.

I have to stop here for a second and say that “Benedict Cumberbatch” is the most wonderful name I’ve ever heard. It just screams to be the name of a character in a children’s book.

How I managed to write a mystery for children is, well, a mystery.  It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write, and I had no training for it.  Somehow, I pulled it off.  Now that I’m working on a sequel, I realize how little I know about the genre.

I went on the internet and Googled a couple of articles about writing mysteries.  Adult mysteries almost always seem to involve a corpse, so I have to adapt the advice to my target audience.  All in all, I didn’t do a bad job with the first story.  I managed to hit on most of the plot points necessary for a mystery.  Still, I recognize that I have mystery storytelling shortcomings to deal with.

So what’s a writer with no money and very little time to do? I picked up a couple of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe mysteries.  Chandler had a way with words and unique phrases that forever defined the hard-boiled detective character.  I’m not terribly impressed by his plots, though.  Not much to see there.  With Sherlock Holmes, the mysteries are also pretty simple.  In fact, to my eye, none of the mysteries I’ve been watching and reading have been very mysterious at all.  The most entertaining part about them is the lead detective character.

A big favorite among mystery writers is the “fish out of water” or “accidental” detective.  These characters seem to be primarily older females with no police training at all.  A few do seem to be mystery writers, however.  Lately, I’ve been watching “Murder, She Wrote” on TV.  It ran on American TV for years and starred Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a mystery writer who can’t walk three feet without stumbling upon a dead body.  Honestly, if I were her friend or relative, I’d steer clear of her.  People around her tend to end up dead or accused of murder.  But Jessica is always there to help the clueless local police find the real culprit.  I am learning a few things, though.  Red herrings, subtle clues, multiple suspects and motives, etc.

Everything I’m learning right now is helping my story.  I’ve accumulated quite a few pages of notes about possible plot twists, characters, and settings. I’m not ready to sit down and get to the “once upon a time” part of getting the actual story on paper, but everything I’m doing now is a part of the writing.  The trick is not to let the research become a substitute for the storytelling.