The Poisoned Martini‘s is privileged to be reading Duffy Brown’s forthcoming mystery novella, Dead Man Walker. This 4th book in the Consignment Shop Mystery series releases as an ebook on February 3, 2015 from Penguin books and their Berkley Prime Crime imprint.
A dead body is discovered in a bathtub and the discoverer turns to lawyer Walker Boone for help. The only problem is Walker’s own connection to the dead man in the tub, making him a possible suspect. Walker will need consignment shop owner Reagan Summerside “to help clear his name–and keep him alive…”
Following along as I review the novella LIVE!
This post will be updated (with time stamps) as I progress through the story and share my thoughts firsthand. See below for what I envision as a Live Read. In the meantime, check out my previously posted review of Brown’s 3rd Consignment Shop Mystery, Pearls and Poison, here.
8:00pm – Start Time
Chapter One and the story starts right in. “There he is, Mr. Boone.” … “Conway Adkins dead as a fence post in his very own claw-foot bathtub and naked as the day he was born.” Reminds me a bit of Dorothy Sayers’ Whose Body? Now if the body’s wearing pince-nez…
Loving the humor. Not sure of the narrator yet. It would appear to be Walker Boone which is a departure from series’ narrator Reagan.
The body was discovered by Mercedes, “housekeeper by day, a mortician/beautician by night” and a former madam. She keeps house for Boone, who’s definitely the narrator here. Mercedes called him to the scene first, but Reagan just showed up.
And the humor keeps coming… Regarding the victim, “He’s not exactly in a meet and greet frame of mind.” Mercedes is a pip.
Reagan’s quick to think Boone did it, but then they don’t get along since he represented her ex in the divorce case.
Police have arrived in the form of Detective Aldeen Ross, pronouncing, “A dead guy in a tub, it must be Monday.” Gotta remember it’s Boone narrating. Ross asks, “You do this?” but at first I thought she was referring to Reagan. Nice details about her yo-yo dieting, though.
Hmm…neighbor heard shots which brought the police to the scene…
The “convention” of Mercedes, Boone and Reagan have been ushered outside by the police. Boone’s trying to tell Reagan not to get involved. He should know better.
And he does… “Reagan was dog-with-a-bone.”
Reagan reminds Boone of her “three for three”, referencing the previous novels.
Hmm…here’s a telling line, “Our resident dead guy had ticked people off for as long as I could remember and had gone out of his way to double-cross me a time or three or maybe four.” Wonder what suspects will be coming out of the woodwork?
On to Chapter Two…
Boone’s talking to KiKi, Reagan’s aunt… ooh, some juicy gossip…
KiKi offers to help. Boone asks her to keep Reagan out of things. KiKi’s deadpan response: “I said ‘help,’ dear, not ‘perform a blooming miracle.’ ”
Moving right along, a slick character, Grayden Russell, approaches Boone about restoring an historic theater. Ulterior motives apparent.
Boone heads to the police station to pick up Mercedes, who’s trying to set up Detective Ross on a date! Mercedes thinks twins, Anna and Bella, possibly suspects. “Thirty-and-flirty” women who married “old-and-loaded.” You gotta love the turns of phrase here.
Wow. Are the twins very hands-on with Boone. He manages to extricate himself, but I was almost hoping to watch him squirm a bit more.
Hmm…who’s Steffy Lou Adkins? Related to the vic? Seems connected to the theater fund-raiser…
Boone meets her at the Plantation Club and Reagan’s there, too.
Ah, Steffy Lou’s is Conway’s daughter-in-law. Her husband Tucker is out in California and flying in soon. “We are pillars of the Savannah community after all,” she says. She’s more preoccupied with the theater fundraiser than her dear, departed Daddy Conway.
Reagan notes, “There’s more going on here at the club than a secret handshake.” Yes, indeed. And a couple power players to boot.
Ouch. Boone did not just think that about women. Shame, shame.
But he appears to be gettin’ all hot and bothered over Reagan. Good, sexual tension slipped in.
Hmm…a near miss…
“We got intrigue.”
It’s getting very interesting. A lot of suspects on the list, but what’s the angle…
Whoa! That’s a bombshell if it’s true…
There are some things you really wish you could see. This one involves a pink scooter…
Wait, what? It can’t end now!
Reading the included first chapter of book five, Demise in Denim. It picks up right where Dead Man Walker left off, but the narration has shifted to Reagan’s point of view.
I don’t believe I’ve ever needed to read an excerpt for a series’ next installment so desperately.
Serving up martinis, KiKi’s sums up it up best, “Honey, from what I’ve seen it’s a three-olive night.” And it’s only really just started!
10:15pm – Summation
Dead Man Walker is very much Boone’s story. The seventeenth street gang member turned respectable lawyer discovers more about himself than he anticipated, but the story’s not finished. Just as it was getting real good, it leaves you with a cliffhanger ending.
The novella serves as a prequel to the forthcoming Demise in Denim. Judging from the 5th book’s sample first chapter, it doesn’t appear necessary to read Dead Man Walker first but it certainly will expand the backstory of events leading to number 5. You certainly can’t read this novella and not read the follow up though.
Some may not like that this story isn’t complete on its own. Boone’s journey (or storyline) has a more subtle resolution. The larger whodunnit mystery must wait to be solved in book five. This set up, however, is worth reading for Boone’s viewpoint/perspective and its surprising reveals that may potentially effect the direction of the series and its characters.
What’s a Live Read?
A Live Read is where I review the book as I read it. It’s kind of like writing notes in the margin of a book as you go. After the initial post describing the selected book, I’ll update periodically during the Live Read until the final pages. I intend to avoid any spoilers and certainly won’t give away the ending. Once finished, I’ll give a summation of my overall thoughts. I encourage participation either during the Live Read and beyond. Even if you’ve read the chosen book or not, feel free to chime in with your thoughts about the book, author, or mysteries in general.