Dead in the Water is the second book in the Eve Appel Mystery series by Lesley A. Diehl. Camel Press, the publisher of a book I've read and reviewed recently (Sticks and Stones) figured that Dead in the Water would be another mystery novel I'd enjoy - and they were right. Dead in the Water was published this July, so it's already available for ordering.
Eve Appel is a consignment shop owner in Sabal Bay, a place in hot Florida. Eve is quite happy to hear from her uncle Winston and pleased to have him visit her after a long time. She is quite surprised to see him accompanied by his girlfriend, Darlene, but glad that her uncle is not alone, as he is not the youngest anymore either.
The couple are interested in taking part in various activities, and what really peaked their curiosity was the popular airboat ride through the local swamps.
As nice as the visit started, as badly it would end: uncle Winston gets shot in the head and dies instantly. From the looks of it, uncle Winston might have been involved with the wrong people, resulting in a mob hit. But why?
Eve has an inquisitive mind and likes to do detective work in her spare time, and this is exactly what she will do to try to find out more about the motives for the killing. The more she learns, the more she realizes that indeed her uncle might have been a mobster himself and his visit to Eve was not as pure as it might seem. The different avenues and threads that Eve has to follow take her from the mob to Russians who have their own hidden agendas, creating some surprising twists and turns along the way.
The cozy mystery is quite fun to read and even though I haven't read the first book in the series, Dead in the Water can be read as a standalone without major problems. It's definitely not a boring book! Crime, murder, kidnapping - all make fur a suspenseful and fast paced whodunit.
Over time it seemed that the various pieces of information that the author gave us were in fact carefully placed red herrings, which made me reconsider every time I thought I knew who did what and who was who. There were too many secrets and literally every person in the book had at least one kept hidden from the rest. Pretty much everyone their own agenda - and not many agendas were accompanied by a peaceful label attached to them.
The people the author brought to life are really fleshed out and fun to learn about. I think the only time I really yearned to have read the first book in the series was regarding Eve's mobster friend Nappi Napolitani, who seems to be a character all by himself. I would definitely want to learn more about him - I bet he has an intriguing story to tell.
Eve's boyfriend, PI Alex Montgomery, seems to be more away than present, and this is also a character that I wish I knew more about - he probably also features in the author's first book, and hopefully more than in this second one.
And speaking of characters, the Miccosukee Indian guy who helps Eve in her investigation, along with his father, is yet another person that I want to read more about. He seems positively delicious. Secretive, intriguing and full of mystery - I love this combination.
In fact none of the characters presented in the book lack intrigue. Darlene is a mystery all by herself, and uncle Winston's 3 Russian step children give a few twists in and dangerous turns in the book as well. Not to mention that at some point everyone becomes a suspect in Eve's mind. And when the killer is revealed, it is quite a surprise, I assume, to many.
Overall this is a well crafted cozy mystery that has action, adventure and detective work involved through a few interesting and fun characters to read about. While reading the book I got intrigued enough by Eve and her list of quirky friends that I'd like to read more books in the series. Especially about Eve's Indian friend.
To read more about Dead in the Water or to get the book, head over to Amazon.
--Published on Mystery Sequels.com, August 18, 2014
"Fun from Page one! …. Not only is A Secondhand Murder filled to the brim with entertaining characters, but the mystery contained in its page is also well crafted. Everyone, even Eve, seemed to have some sort of secret. I enjoyed peeling back all the layers of this story as I tried to figure out what was related to the murder and what wasn't. I absolutely enjoyed reading A Secondhand Murder. The web of murder and deceit is well spun, but the characters Ms. Diehl has created are truly the shining stars of this book. Anyone looking for a laugh out loud, fast paced mystery would do well to pick up A Secondhand Murder today." -Dec. 20, 2013; Long and Short Reviews
"How can you not love a cheeky Yankee-chick-consignment-shop-entrepreneur who's willing to fight alligators, the Russian mob, and treacherous blackmailers to avenge her uncle's murder? Eve Appel is strong-willed and sassy and will stop at nothing to save her kidnapped friend and learn the truth, even it means putting herself in danger or ruining her Jimmy Choos. Eve does it all with class and a gaggle of smitten lovers and quirky friends. Dead in the Water is a laugh-out-loud cozy with just the right balance of suspense, plot twists, romance, and airboat rides." --Sharon Potts, author of South Beach Cinderella
"Lesley Diehl has outdone herself with Dead in the Water. She still has her carefully drawn characters you enjoy knowing and the sense of humor that makes you laugh out loud. But in Dead in the Water, Diehl has developed her most involved plot. With murder, kidnapping, the mob and alligators, you won't want to put the book down. This second Eve Appel Mystery is a must read." --James R. Callan, author of Cleansed by Fire and A Ton of Gold