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Dead and Gone (Judi Westerholme Book 2) Kindle Edition
|Length: 337 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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"A whodunnit worthy of a binge alert." --Westsider on Trust Me, I'm Dead
"Gripping and disturbing, Clark delves into dark places close to home. Trust Me, I'm Dead will linger in your mind after you have read it." --Leigh Russell
"Sherryl Clark is a worthy addition to the crime writing fraternity, and Trust Me, I'm Dead is a book you should definitely add to your reading list." --Shots Mag
"This novel is a page turner and the action is pretty much full on; kidnap, murder, gangster wars, a mcguffin and a decent cop." --NB Magazine --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B0848R12GS
- Publisher : Verve Books (25 June 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 2629 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 337 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0857308068
- Best Sellers Rank: 62,386 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Having had her life change completely after the death of her brother, Judi Westerholme is back in Candlebark struggling to make ends meet by managing the local pub and raise a toddler. Upon learning her brother had stipulated in his will that she become guardian of little Mia in the event of his death, Judi was reluctant to be lumbered with such a responsibility. After all, kids had never been on her radar. But after four months of caring for little Mia, she cannot imagine her life without her. Added to that, she has a fledgling long distance romance with a police detective back in Melbourne with no real idea where they both stand with each other.
And then, on one of the pub's busiest days everything changes.
A body has been discovered in the dumpster behind the pub. It's identified as Macca, the owner and landlord. And he's been murdered.
Now Judi finds herself having to juggle the running of the pub along with everything else. At least until the police find out who murdered Macca and they work out what to do now with the hotel. But then, Judi learns that she has inherited a third of the pub, alongside two of Macca's longest serving staff - Andre, the chef, and Suzy, the barmaid. But why would Macca leave them the pub when he has a daughter who has just turned up claiming the business is now hers? According to her, Macca had promised it to her. So what changed? On top of everything else, Judi did not want to deal with the woman's histrionics.
But something is definitely amiss and, unable to leave things alone, Judi begins her own investigation, talking to locals behind the bar and getting a feel for things, and ends up discovering more than she expected to. A search of Macca's room uncovers old service medals from Vietnam and a photo of a group of smiling soldiers identifying Macca as one of them and his friend Carl as another. Along with the photo, Judi also finds a couple of newspaper clippings detailing the deaths of two men in different circumstances. The names of the men are the same as two of those in the group photo with Macca and Carl. What has she uncovered?
Taking her new information to the police, Judi tells them her thoughts but is brushed off and told the circumstances in which the two men died are most probably unrelated and to leave the investigating to them. Of course it doesn't help that one of the homicide detectives up from Melbourne to investigate Macca's death is Heath, her fledgling romance. But despite being warned by the police to stay out of the investigation, she continues looking for answers. And when the pub comes under fire, Judi will stop at nothing to ensure it remains safe at all costs.
Although she is now the fulltime guardian of Mia, Judi must also ensure her safety as well. She has engaged childcare with a local woman to look after Mia during Judi's shifts at the pub, knowing Mia enjoys herself thoroughly at Joleen's house with her two young boys. But a part of her feels guilty that she is neglecting the little girl who has already lost her mummy and daddy by the time she was two years old while at the same time not wanting to put Mia in danger at the pub should danger come looking for them. Mia is quite used to being at the pub with Judi on occasion and has even got her own little play corner that Judi set up for her, that other parents with children have come to appreciate as well. But given all that she has learnt since Macca's death, Judi isn't sure the Candlebark Hotel is the safest place for little Mia.
And then comes the suckerpunch. Judi receives a phone call from her solicitor in Melbourne to inform her that Mia's maternal grandparents have applied for guardianship of their granddaughter. The granddaughter they never knew existed until their daughter's death because they had been estranged. And now Judi must deal with the threat of losing Mia, the little girl who has become her world. She finds herself torn between what is best for Mia and her promise to take care of her. She may not have wanted to take her on in the beginning but she has come to love that little girl who has brought such sunshine into her life.
Initially, I requested DEAD AND GONE purely for the fact that it is Australian and I like to support my fellow Aussies where I can, despite not knowing it was part of a series. However, it most definitely reads sufficiently as a standalone and readers won't find themselves lost having not read the first book. Set in rural Victoria, I am familiar with Bendigo and of course Melbourne but not much more beyond that. I knew right away what chop chop was before it was explained to Judi and I must say it was a welcome change to be immersed in an Australian mystery thriller once again.
My first book by Sherryl Clark, DEAD AND GONE is well written and addictive from the start. I found myself enjoying it immensely and I loved each of the characters from the pub locals to the detectives from Melbourne. I even loved little Mia. I found it a welcome change that, while still an important part of Judi's life, not everything revolved around Mia. She was there but she wasn't mollycoddled and pandered to at every whim. And Mia was okay with that. And that endeared her to me even more. She didn't demand every bit of attention at every minute of every day. She was happy to sit in the corner stacking blocks, drawing circles on scraps of paper or chasing the cat and pulling its tail. A child who provides her own entertainment as we did as kids and not relying on or demanding an adult's attention every second of the day. Mia was a sweet child and I look forward to seeing her bloom in future books.
Like Judi I had my suspects, but I had no idea really what was going on or why. So Sherryl had me pretty much hoodwinked throughout. DEAD AND GONE was one of those books that grabbed your attention and keeps you guessing until the end.
A nice easy read, I really enjoyed DEAD AND GONE and recommend it fans of crime fiction thrillers.
Dead and Gone, sees main protagonist Judi Westerholme now the primary caregiver to her orphaned niece after the death of her brother. Trying to make ends meet, she takes on a job at the local pub, but it isn’t long before tragedy strikes again when pub owner and Judi’s friend Macca is murdered. Not willing to take a back seat while the police investigate, Judi takes it upon herself to start searching for the killer, but the deeper she digs and uncovers, the more danger she finds herself in.
I enjoyed Judi’s character. She is bold, gutsy, takes no nonsense from anyone and is a very strong female lead. Well rounded and developed, she really does carry the story on her shoulders well and I look forward to getting to know her more in future books.
I loved the setting of the book and being an Aussie girl myself and from Melbourne, it was fun to read the book with places I know well and I could visualise as the story takes place. It really was the perfect setting.
Before I wrap it up, it would be remiss of me to not acknowledging the cover art for this book. It is eye catching, atmospheric and really fits in with the tone of this story. A great job has been done by the designer here.
Dead and Gone is a classic whodunnit that is fast paced, thrilling and exciting read that will keep you glued to the pages. With a strong plot, real and relatable characters, twists and turns, an ending I didn’t see coming, that all comes together through great writing, Dead and Gone is a very enjoyable read and I look forward forward to more in the series.
Thank you to Verve Books and Sherryl Clark for allowing me to read an advanced copy of Dead and Gone which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Top reviews from other countries
Judi has been left as guardian to her young niece, Mia following the death of the little girl's parents and as she is reluctant to sell her brother's house, she has taken on a job in the local pub. It doesn't seem to be a role she especially enjoys but she is obviously competent and understands how to handle both the locals and tourists who visit. However, everything changes when her boss, Macca is found murdered; Judi has make a number of difficult choices but now she has Mia to think about too.
Her past evidently still affects her but it's not all bad news as Heath, a police officer from the city whom she met previously and is in a tentative relationship with, is sent to the small town of Candlebark to investigate Macca's death. Being in such close proximity leads to new problems, particularly when Judi can't help but carry out her own investigation even though it may potentially put her in harm's way. Things are further complicated by an unexpected development which means she could be considered a possible suspect and which could have long term implications for her future, depending on what she decides to do.
I do enjoy crime fiction featuring an amateur detective and Judi is an excellent protagonist. She is resourceful and courageous but her headstrong, impetuous nature puts more than just her relationship at risk. Though not somebody who bears her emotions easily, she has a softer, more vulnerable side and I loved seeing how she has clearly changed since Mia entered her life. Small communities are always ripe settings for murder mysteries and Candlebark is awash with gossip and secrets. Though a fictional place, set not far from Melbourne, it authentically evokes the spirit of a typical small Australian town and its colourful inhabitants - from the kookaburras and galahs to the human residents, many of whom seem to have something to hide.
The engaging narrative flows naturally and the propulsive plot is suspenseful and pacy with a good dash of humour throughout. The mystery itself is intriguing with plenty of red herrings before an unexpected and tense conclusion. I very much enjoyed my visit to Candlebark and look forward to Judi Westerholme investigating more murders and irritating certain members of the local police force in the future.