Thanks Jane Primerano
“The thing about series mysteries is they take some time to get going. You can like the first book, but not be sure there’s enough weight for a sequel.
So, when I picked up Michael Stephen Daigle’s A Game Called Dead the sequel to The Swamps of Jersey I was wondering where it would go. Would it pick up the story? Would it just give curmudgeonly cop Frank Nagler another case? Would it answer the questions about “the woman?” Would it answer the questions about the town?
Of course, each book in a mystery series has to answers some questions, leave others unanswered and raise new ones.
A Game Called Dead does just that.
Frank Nagler is just as curmudgeonly, but maybe more compelling. The town of Ironton, a thinly disguised Dover, is still dingy and damaged. But, we learn it has a college and an independent bookstore. Daigle captures the town-gown dynamic and brings in some terrific new characters. Things aren’t totally bleak for Ironton, in spite of a murder and arson.
Daigle does not just type out another police procedural. He draws the reader into the story, but also into the somewhat irregular heartbeat of the town and its people.
Jimmy Dawson is back. An old newspaperman, he is trying to make it in the new economics of journalism with a hyperlocal website. His headquarters is the local coffee shop to avoid the quiet of the library and NCIS reruns at home. That is so relatable.
New is Harriet Waddley-Jones (a great name for a college administrator) who may or may not be part of the college’s reluctance to admit anything ever went wrong within the halls of ivy.
The initial crime is murder and attempted murder of two students who remained on campus during a break. The reader figures out long before the police do who the perp is, but the why remains the mystery. Is it tied up with a video game played in reality? Does it have something to do with serial murders from years ago or with the political corruption that dragged Ironton down? And are the campus crimes connected with vandalism at the bookstore and the fire at the community center?
The answers don’t come easy to Nagler, but the plot is compelling and the writing is masterful.
If you haven’t read The Swamps of Jersey, start there, but do pick up A Game Called Dead. It’s a great summer read.”
The books are also available at the at the following libraries: Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library; Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown; Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System.
Also at: Bobby’s News and Gifts, 618 Main Street, Boonton.
The Clinton Book Shop, 12 E. Main Street, Clinton. http://www.clintonbookshop.com/
Sparta Books, 29 Theatre Center, Sparta. http://www.spartabooks.com/
For information on independent book sellers visit, http://www.indiebound.org/