Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Dead in the Water: Ted Wood

Reid Bennett is not just the Chief of Police in Murphy's Harbour, a small resort town in Muskoka, Ontario. He is the ONLY policeman in town. There is a man in the office who answers the phones, but he is not a qualified to do police work. 

Bennett ended up in Murphy's Harbour because he was hounded out of his previous job in the Toronto police due to his handling of an attempted rape. As he puts it: "Nothing violent happens here." But when a corpse is found floating in the lake, Bennett's job gets very complicated and it turns out that the small town is not the haven that he thought it would be.

This is a very different police procedural. The case becomes very complicated, and the minuscule police presence in Murphy's Harbour is not meant to handle cases like this. It requires ingenuity for Reid to deal with the workload and the pursuit of the criminals basically alone. He does have his faithful dog Sam, a smart, always loyal German shepherd, by his side.

What did I like?

  • The story is told in first person narration by Bennett, and I liked the character and the narration.
  • Sam the dog is a fantastic character.
  • The Canadian setting, in a small town on the water, and a mix of characters, locals and tourists.
  • The story is not predictable, and moves at a fast pace, with plenty of surprises, especially at the end.

Dead in the Water, published in 1983, is the first book in a ten book crime fiction series starring Reid Bennett. It is a very short novel at 142 pages. The story may have a bit too much violence for me, but I will see how future books pan out.

Check out other more detailed reviews at Kevin's Corner and Paul Bishop's blog


Publisher:   Open Road Media, 2014 (orig. publ. 1983)
Length:       142 pages
Format:      Trade Paperback
Series:        Reid Bennett, #1
Setting:      Canada
Genre:        Police Procedural
Source:      On my TBR pile since 2020.


Margot Kinberg said...

This does sound like an interesting story, Tracy. And I do like the Canadian setting and the small-town context. It's interesting that you thought the first-person narration worked here. Some times it really does work well. The only time it doesn't for me is when it's in present tense. At any rate, I'm glad you found things to like in this one.

TracyK said...

Margot, I look forward to continuing more books in this series. When I read the first book in a series, and especially one that is the author's debut, I always want to check out more books to see how the series continues, whether it gets better or not, etc.

Kay said...

Not a series that I'm familiar with but it sounds interesting. Like Margot, the Canadian setting appeals to me. I can see that it wasn't a very long book either. Wonder if my library has to see.

Lark said...

The fact that he's the only policeman in town is intriguing, but it's his faithful dog Sam that really sold me on this one. can't wait to check it out. :)

TracyK said...

Kay, the short length is very appealing. And the setting is interesting. Not some place I want to live in, but fun to read about.

TracyK said...

It is funny, Lark, I was almost finished with the review when I realized that I had left out Sam the dog. And he makes all the difference to the story.

CLM said...

This sounds like a series I should find. I've been to Muskoka twice; once for a simple weekend at a cottage and once for a wedding at a resort. It is a very quiet lake community and close enough to Toronto that people can easily go for the weekend.

TracyK said...

I agree, Constance, you should try this series. I am sure the Chief of Police is seeing the seedier side of Muskoka and the series starts in the early 198os, but still it would be fun to read about a place you have been to.

col2910 said...

Sounds like the sort of book/series I would enjoy. If only there wasn't so much on my plate already!

TracyK said...

Actually, I think this is your sort of series. And I do know what your mean about too much on your plate. But if you ever see it on audio, give it a try.

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