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Dead Man's Hand (Connor Westphal Mystery) Paperback – January 16, 2010
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About the Author
Penny Warner has published over 40 books, including seven mysteries in the award-winning Connor Westphal series. DEAD BODY LANGUAGE was nominated for an Agatha Award and won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. Warner also writes a series for middle-grade readers, featuring a scout troop that solves mysteries involving historic, environmental and social issues. MYSTERY OF THE HAUNTED CAVES won an Agatha Award and an Anthony Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. Her books have been published internationally, in over a dozen languages. Warner has a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and Master's Degree in Special Education with a focus on Deaf Education and American Sign Language. She teaches at the local college and leads mystery writing courses at California State University Hayward, UC Berkeley, Book Passage, and M is for Mystery. She has spoken at numerous writing conferences, including Bouchercon World Mystery, Left Coast Crime, Sleuthfest, Cluefest, Malice Domestic, Cuesta College, Harriette Austin, Pikes Peak, San Francisco Writers, Jack London, East of Eden, William Saroyan, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and California Writers Club conferences. She has appeared on television promoting her books, written a weekly newspaper column, and currently writes for several websites. With her husband, Tom, she writes and produces murder mystery events for libraries and other organizations across the country. Warner lives in Danville with her husband and has two children. Visit Penny at her website: www.pennywarner.com
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Top customer reviews
Unlike Kinsey Millhone however, Connor has let both a hearing-ear dog and a gorgeous private eye into her life. Over the years, I've come to look forward to Penny Warner's mysteries more than I do to Sue Grafton's. Connor seems to be heading toward a pleasant future while I'm afraid Kinsey's destined for a tragic end.
I have to admit, the mysteries in the Connor Westphal books are not what draws me in. In fact, if I read the books again I would not remember who killed who and why. I enjoy the descriptions of the Gold Country and its history, finding out how Connor copes in a hearing world, and the soap opera of her relationships.
I came across the first Connor Westphal book by chance, in the lobby of a hotel on a beach in Portugal. It was storming and there was nothing to do in a town that subsisted mainly on beach tourists. The bar was closed and the unpaved roads were muddy and led nowhere. My husband was sensibly fighting boredom by taking a long nap and I'd finished the books I'd brought. I wandered to the lobby, turned the TV on and started flipping channels when the Basil Fawlty-like hotel manager came in, turned the TV off and told me "It doesn't work." In spite of high-definition evidence to the contrary, I sighed and flopped into the chair. On the table was Dead Body Language, the first Connor Westphal mystery.
That book got me through the rest of the rainstorm. I figured my desperation had made me enjoy the book more than I would have in other circumstances, but after I got home I read the next one and the third and enjoyed them every bit as much as the first.
In Dead Man's Hand, as in the previous novels, I found the mystery less compelling than the controversies over cochlear implants, a planned deaf-only community, Indian casinos, and the sideshows of Connor, Dan, Josh, Caspar, and the rest of the Flat Skunk gang. (By the way, the cochlear implant debate is explored in an excellent and disturbing documentary called Sound and Fury.)
I am so glad that anonymous guest left her(?) Connor Westphal book. Thank goodness it wasn't a Tom Clancy novel.
The only reason there are only 4 stars is that the Kindle version has a few typos that are irritating.