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An Unattended Death Hardcover – October 15, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Permanent Press (October 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579622844
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579622848
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,100,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Jenkins's series debut holds the reader captive from the first paragraph. Her strong sense of place coupled with the plot's palpable psychological tension makes her police procedural especially arresting. Library Journal, starred review, debut of the month

Clean prose and impeccable pacing distinguish this regional crime novel from Jenkins (Cruise Control). --Publishers Weekly, starred review

A rural Washington state sheriff s detective believes a murder has been committed in her jurisdiction in Jenkins captivating third novel.... Jenkins deft use of plot and character skillfully advances the story, and her all-too-human protagonist, Chavez, is credible and identifiable as she strives to solve the case and reconcile her duties as a law enforcement officer and a single parent...she works hard for the solution, which is logical and realistic. Hopefully, a sequel won t be far behind. Kirkus

Jenkins spins police procedure into a startlingly realistic psychological mystery, with a laid-back pace that is never slow. Chavez s point of view offers a curious, driven perspective; readers definitely will want to slip into her head again. Recommended for those who can t get enough of AMC s The Killing... - Booklist

...vividly evocative place descriptions and emphasis on the sordidness of human nature. The mystery is interesting and moves along at a cool but steady pace, making it hard to put down. Irene s straightforwardness and reluctance to change make her refreshingly human. If Ms. Jenkins continues with this character, she ll have a series that will likely draw loyal followers. --NY Journal of Books

An Unattended Death has all the twists and turns of a mystery, the finely measured cadences of a police procedural, and the musical sense of character and place of an intricately haunting drama. Evocative and intriguing, it s an enticing beginning to what promises to be an enjoyable mystery series. Sheila Deeth,

The resolution of the case comes as a part of the natural flow of events. There s no artfully staged confrontation with a room full of suspects. Indeed, when she has the answer, she decides not to rush to the family of the deceased with her analysis and explanation. Life just goes on. This makes An Unattended Death a superior crime novel. The detective proves to have more intellectual gumption than the Paris family would patronizingly choose to believe... This is definitely recommended to anyone who enjoys a character-driven mystery where, until the end, it remains unclear whether it s possible to prove the death a murder. --David Marshall, Thinking about books

About the Author

Victoria Jenkins is the author of two previous novels, Relative Disctances and Cruise Control, and the screenwriter of the film Stacking.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Set largely on an island in Puget Sound just north of Olympia and about 30 miles east of Tacoma, this quiet crime novel introduces a compelling new heroine. Irene Chavez is a Mason County local who has returned from a decade and a half in southern California with a teenage son, a widow's grief, and enough LAPD experience to get a detective badge. Called to the scene of an unattended death (ie. someone has died without any witnesses who can confirm what happened), she finds herself sifting through the layers of the life of the beloved charismatic young woman who died. With her boss away on vacation, she's got a free hand to probe, even though there's no material evidence to suggest anything beyond a boating accident in rough weather.

The "whodunit" aspect of the book isn't edge-of-your-seat stuff, and many readers will guess the culprit, if not the motive, as soon as that person is first mentioned. However, the atmosphere -- both physical and psychological -- that Jenkins creates is highly realistic and sucks you in. Her circling around the family of the dead woman has the feel of someone stripping away layers of an onion. Subplots involving her son's scrape with the law, and the arrival of a new district attorney in town, flesh out her life beyond the case and help provide some real depth. Hopefully this is just the first of a series starring Detective Chavez.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert P on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this novel. The characters are interesting and engaging. I wanted to keep reading to learn more about them. The story unfolded at a pace that just drew me in. It sounds like this will be the first in a series of books involving this detective, Irene Chavez. I'm really looking forward to the next one!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Deeth VINE VOICE on October 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Irene Chavez grew up on an island in Puget Sound but left as soon as she could. Now she's back with her teenaged son, earning her living as the token female detective in a tiny sheriff's department. When a rich man's daughter turns up dead in the water, evidence seems to point towards a sailing accident. But Irene's senses have been tuned by life in Los Angeles. Rich and poor deserve the same true investigation, so she sets out to learn exactly what happened in this well-connected death.

Town and city attitudes provide rich contrasts in Victoria Jenkins' first Irene Chavez mystery. The highly educated keep their secrets as surely as the teenaged son arrested for possession of drugs. And the light and expanse of an open beach hide a myriad hints and hopes. Rich descriptions bring scents and scenery to life, wind and tide blowing in and out till every shadow proves it has more than one side. The clues to mystery and clues of communication all slip and slide with changes in the light while Irene doggedly investigates and determinedly cares for her son.

The relationship between Irene and her son has just the right measure of silences between words. Her professional life in the sheriff's department is pleasingly convincing. And a haunting temptation to enjoy a sense of belonging fuels her interactions with the bereaved. Irene feels "blunt and provincial in comparison" with the "smart, educated, psychologically sophisticated people" she investigates, but her eyes are sharp, her senses well-tuned, and her empathy is much stronger than she imagines. Clues stack up slowly, as surely as the tide coming in, and the story pulls the reader through ebbs and flows of revelation and investigation to a nicely surprising conclusion.
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