#Review / #Giveaway – Dead in the Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River) by Denise Swanson

I am beyond happy that this series has found a new home.
This book comes out on Tuesday!

Dead in the Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Welcome Back to Scumble River Series
Setting – Illinois
Sourcebooks Landmark (September 5, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492648321




A twister, a kidnapping, and a murder—oh my! Scumble River may never be the same.

For school psychologist Skye Denison, there’s certainly no place like home. When a violent tornado devastates her small hometown of Scumble River, she can’t see how the community will ever recover—especially since town councilman Zeke Lyons appears to have perished in the twister.

But things get even worse for Skye when her police chief husband, Wally, disappears in the midst of investigating Zeke’s death, and evidence arises pointing to foul play. Did Zeke really die in the storm, or was he murdered? And could Wally be next on the criminal’s hit list?


Dollycas’s Thoughts

We go back to Scumble River to find Skye Denison-Boyd almost near the end of her pregnancy and a mighty tornado bearing down on the community. As the debris is cleared the body of Zeke Lyons is found dead in his home. But he wasn’t killed by the twister, someone murdered the man using the storm as a cover. The investigation barely gets going when Skye’s police chief husband goes missing. Skye calls in some reinforcements to find her husband and she may just catch a killer too before she goes into labor.

Fans of the Scumble River series are rejoicing this book’s release, but I want to make something very clear, if you have never read any of the previous Scumble River mysteries or have only read a few you can jump into this book with ease. Denise Swanson is a pro, she has included everything you need to know to enjoy this book. She has rebooted the timeline so this and future stories take place in present day with the characters not aging a bit 🙂 and given us enough backstory to the town and its residents to not feel one bit lost.

These are dynamic characters that jump off the pages. Skye is a strong determined woman that doesn’t back down. As a school psychologist she knows how to deal with people and can get them to open up to her when they may not to others. Wally Boyd is the police chief and while also strong and determined he has a boss, the mayor, and this can get him into trouble. The love they have for each other is heartwarming and shines clearly throughout the story.  We meet several residents of Scumble River and some visitors, good and bad too. All introduced (or reintroduced) perfectly.

I read this story as Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Texas and Louisiana. Like there, the people of Scumble River band together to help. Shelters are opened for the displaced, police and fire work overtime to find everyone affected by the tornado, and donations are needed and come pouring in. So much of the town was damaged. It is going to be a long road of recovery. Disasters like these bring out the best in people. Well, most people because someone did kill Councilman Zeke Lyons.

This story was very fast paced with the tornado, a murder and a missing Wally. It had sort of a movie like quality about it. Ms. Swanson has a wonderful descriptive writing style that gives the reader an excellent understanding of time and place. From the Boyd’s basement, to the police station, to the devastation seen all over town, I saw everything as clear as crystal. I loved the references to the Wizard of Oz. Scumble River may not be in Kansas but a tornado can strike anywhere in the Midwest and leaves us all clicking the heels of our red shoes together to go “home”.  I read the entire book in one day. It was very hard to put down.

Ms. Swanson has penned an outstanding mystery. I am thrilled that she has been able to continue this series. I am so excited for the next installment, I want to read it right now.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River Mysteries, the Devereaux’s Dime Store Mysteries, the Change of Heart romances, and the Delicious romances She worked as a school psychologist for twenty-two years before quitting to write full-time. She lives in Illinois with her husband, classical music composer David Stybr.

Check out the publisher book page with a list of characters and a Scumble River map here.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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