where the dead sleep. By Joshua Mailing. Poisoned pen press. 320 pages. $27.99.
“Where the Dead Rests” begins very pleasantly. Detective Ben Packard is back, more familiar with Sandy Lake, and patrolling as a sheriff’s deputy to a small town in Minnesota’s Labor Day weekend celebrations.
But there can be no murder mystery without murder. After the celebration, and before you remember the name of the drummer who was with you, Packard will take part in a crime investigation that will take center stage in Joshua Mailing’s highly anticipated sequel. Ben Packard Series: Bill is found dead in his bed with two gunshot wounds, his wife hears one gunshot and sees nothing. This is a strange affair from the start, as it soon emerges that Bill’s wife Carrie is his ex-wife Sherry’s sister. And the family drama doesn’t end there.
Aside from the ongoing investigation, there are questions about Packard’s future. If the current sheriff with cancer dies, he could take on more bureaucratic duties as deputy sheriff. But Packard doesn’t want to give up his detective work, and frankly neither do readers.
If Packard becomes a sheriff, how will he continue his detective work that produces interesting stories? However, it is also immeasurable that he will lose. He is the protagonist of the story and the only qualified candidate for the job.
“The place where the dead sleep” is particular about the landing after the patterning start. My suspicions about participating in this work were quelled by a surprisingly surprising and darkly comical development along the way, and I snorted. This is where it really matters.
If you thought the mystery was solved in the first few chapters, you’re dead wrong. Mailings have a few tricks up their sleeves and are drawn to challenging ideas and interesting surprises.
It’s a cat-and-mouse game where clues start to emerge, slowly at first and quickly as the truth begins to materialize. As an added layer, a series of lines from Packard’s missing brother, Nick (a nearly 30-year-old unsolved case that ultimately ended without a body) finally gets the spotlight. After reading half of the novel thinking “What’s in the box? is improved only slightly by the mailing promise of
The narration is rambling like Minnesota’s Long Goodbye, at times annoying and at times comforting with its familiarity. You don’t need to know all the ingredients and processes for Packard’s Chicken and Potato Dinner. It just made me hungry.
But the ramblings not only offer a strong sense of place and community, they also offer a chance for an Easter egg. Like the delightful meta-layers of town mystery-thriller writer Jim Henkel, it turns out he closely followed the Emmett Barr case detailed in Mailing’s book. His debut work “And There He Keep Her”.
And like the fictional author, I’m waiting and watching to see what happens next in the Ben Packard series.