I have received a free e-copy of the book Dead Down East by Carl Schmidt to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.
Here is the book blurb.
Dead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor or Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.
Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.
Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.
It took me a little effort to get into this book as the first chapter is mostly about Jesse’s fishing trip, but once Cynthia Dumais calls to ask for Jesse’s help, I was hooked. She wants Jesse to pick her up from an address nearby where the governor was murdered the previous evening. Jesse is a private investigator and Cynthia is a former client. He agrees, but has to navigate a police roadblock near the murder scene, at which he pretends he is picking up his girlfriend. Together, they come up with a plausible story to get back past the road block again, as Cynthia believes her life to be in danger as she was the governor’s mistress and witnessed his murder. Jesse takes Cynthia back to his own home. During a quick nap, he dreams of his friend Kathleen saying “Cherchez la femme” that very morning, which is to be one of the prime focuses of his investigation along with DNA samples.
Jesse sets up surveillance at Cynthia’s home, whilst Cynthia arranges a meeting for Jesse with Richard Merrill, the governor’s closest friend. Richard also wants the crime solved and becomes Jesse’s second client on the case. Then Travis, Cynthia’s ex is arrested and becomes Jesse’s third client.
DNA reveals a very interesting match, which convinces Jesse of who was involved in the murder. Next he has to prove it.
Dead Down East is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.96 in paperback or FREE in Kindle format. A great read. Highly recommended, although sadly the cover design didn’t do anything to pull me in. This is the first of three Jesse Thorpe novels. I hope there will be many more to follow?
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.