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Web of Deceit (The Dewey Webb Historical Mystery Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 240 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Reed Fergurson and his various friends are so well written that they feel like friends. Dewey Webb, a noir character from post WW2, didn't seem to be the sort of hero who would appeal to modern readers.
I was wrong!
The world of Mr. Webb - lacking the Internet, relying on pay phones, demanding brain power instead of computers - is straight out of a black and white Bogie film. Dames in trouble, shady characters, the carefully researched clothing and scenes, Ms. Pawlish has the era down flat.
I see other reviewers have given the plots away, so all I can add is an apology for doubting.
This mystery is new, but it is written as they were in the golden age, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was the first book I read from this author, but my next step is to get the rest of her mysteries. I am grateful to have a new source for great mystery writing. I am also pleased to find an author who is meticulous in her copyediting. I have a journalism background, and mistakes in copyediting grate on me. I didn't find one mistake through this whole book. It seems to have been a labor of love in more than one way.
Dewey Webb is a private detective in Denver, but there the similarity with Reed Ferguson ends. Whereas Reed is contemporary, Dewey lives in the post-World War II era.
Dewey reluctantly takes a case that, on the surface, sounds like an easy-solve. Things soon take twists and turns he never expected. I don’t want to give more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that Dewey’s “easy-solve” turns into a convoluted plot with more suspects than he can shake a stick at.
The characters are well-written, with a depth that drives the story from start to finish.
Some reviewers felt there wasn’t enough urgency or intrigue. Perhaps not, but some cases aren’t run-amok-shoot-’em-up-chase-the-bad-guys. Some are low-key puzzle solvers that can feel almost boring. Until they aren’t. Like when you’re looking down the barrel of a shotgun, or a guy with a knife… Oh, but I promised no spoilers.
This is the first Dewey Webb story (unless you caught his “cameo” appearance in the Reed Ferguson Backstory novel. I’m sure we’ll see more action, urgency and intrigue when Dewey returns.
I loved the look back at the era. No cell phones, phone calls cost a nickel (if you can find a pay phone when you need one). Less than two bucks will buy a pretty good lunch. Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Williams and others singing on radios that take up more room than a modern TV. And no TV.
Like I said, Reed Ferguson is my favorite. I know Dewey will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him as Pawlish offers more books featuring him.
From there we're off on a story that, I guarantee, will hold you to term ! It's wonderful. The pace is right. The characters are right as is the setting. Dewey doesn't have the luxury of the internet and cell phones so he has to go old-school gumshoe to get his answers. As in all good suspense stories, he, along with us, figures out the plot one nibble at a time.
Renee Pawlish has the pacing down perfect and I found myself sprinting through the pages to get to the next revelation. The book is short (230 pages) and is broken out into short chapters. This allows for break points but, as I found, I always knew where I was in the book, who was talking and where we were in the plot. This is the mark of a good writer.
I will pursue more of Pawlish's work.
Summary: Excellent, but sshort, old style sleuth novel. Great pacing with interesting characters.