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Nearly Departed in Deadwood: Deadwood Mystery Series Paperback – February 1, 2011
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"This gem has a bit of everything ... mystery, romance, comedy, suspense, and even a bit of the paranormal." ***** FIVE STARS! ~Huntress Reviews
"It's no wonder Ann won an award for this story. Her storytelling capabilities are tremendous." ***** FIVE STARS! ~ParaYourNormal Book Reviews
From the Author
Once upon a time, I thought my crush on Deadwood, South Dakota was going to be just a summer fling. Boy, was I wrong. I had fallen head-over-heels. Deadwood had gotten under my skin. Its golden history filled my mind with daydreams; its promising future spurred tales that needed to be told.
Nearly Departed in Deadwood is a contemporary mystery full of colorful characters that have been taking root inside of my noggin for almost three decades. The seed was planted when I was a young teenager sitting on the bench outside of the old Prospector Gift Shop on Main Street, waiting for my mom to get off work. Over the years, the seed sprouted as I hiked all over town, strolling around Wild Bill Hickok's and Seth Bullock's gravestones at Mount Moriah Cemetery, sitting on the steps outside the Deadwood Public Library, walking up and down Main Street, perusing the tourist shops.
As times changed, so did Deadwood. The drugstore where I used to buy candy, the clothing store where I bought my favorite Levi's, and the Prospector Gift Shop are all gone now. At first I was sad to see them go, but then I realized that Deadwood had to transform and grow in order to survive. Just like I did.
A couple of years ago, I was driving down Strawberry Hill on my way into Deadwood when an idea hit me. It was a "what if" moment that sparked the fire of a story in my head. This time, the "what if" involved a single mom, living in Deadwood, struggling to make ends meet with two kids--twins--for whom she had to provide. I had one young child and another on the way at the time, so taking care of kids was front and center in my mind (and my body).
As I drove through Deadwood that day, memories ran rampant in my mind, and the story you hold in your hands began to take shape. I could see it clearly. I'd name the heroine Violet, an old-fashioned name. I could hear her voice; see her in her favorite purple cowboy boots. I knew exactly the location of the realty office where Violet would work, the street she'd live on, and how I'd pull Deadwood's past into the story and intermingle it with the present.
Over the following month, I plotted this story. My poor husband was forced to listen to my ideas morning, noon, and night; there was no shutting me up. Then he caught the Deadwood bug, too, and he joined me in brainstorming and planning. Before I even wrote the first line, I knew that one book was not going to be enough to tell this story, but I had to start somewhere. Finally, after months of writing, I reached "The End" of Nearly Departed in Deadwood, the first book in a series, with much hooting and hollering in celebration.
Now, after several rounds of editing and a lot of polishing, I want to share Violet's story with you. If you have half as much fun reading it as I had writing it, you'll close the book when you're finished with a big grin on your face--especially since you know there is more fun to come.
Thank you for joining me in this adventure. Hold on to your hat!
Welcome to Deadwood.
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Top Customer Reviews
I generally liked Violet, she had a snarky wit and can do attitude. She was a bit over run by her kids, they totally ran her life. Her job struggles were relateable and you really felt her frustration. She seemed to be doused in some kind of love potion, for real how many fellas does a gal need? At one point she had no less than 4 men wanting to get with her. I know that was meant to be funny but in my opinion it missed the mark.
There were some really funny moments in the story. Her kids are a hoot, even if you want to shake them at times! Her slightly slutty best friend adds a touch of drama. I would have loved to see more of her hippy Aunt Zoey. Her first client Harvey is a laugh riot!! I hope we see much more of him in future books!
This is a single POV, only getting Violet's side of things. She is very helpful in sharing her insights as they happen. It might be nice to get some of the other character's thoughts. But then some off the twists wold have been revealed too early.
There are a couple romantic prospects and things eventually get steamy. Kind of a surprise for the type of book. While not as detailed as an erotic read, the bedroom door is wide open and things get hot! I am still deciding how I feel about that story wise. It was very abrupt and while the characters were lusting after each other, it felt off.
The mystery is detailed and well developed. I would have liked more of the ghost angle throughout. That seemed like a missed opportunity. While I quickly caught on to the bad guy, I did not see that motive. Almost made me feel bad for the guy, until you recall he was killing little girls.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Caroline Shaffer. She does an excellent job. She had a real feel for the characters and helped the story flow. She has a brisk read, which I enjoy. She had great voices, distinct and consistent. Great comedic timing, especially with old man Harvey. She could have used a touch more energy during the action and smexy scenes. I never felt urgency in her voice. I will definitely boo looking to check out more of her reads.
Ended on a cliffhanger, more like a teaser for the next book. Most of the major plot points of this mystery were wrapped up. But you can see some loose ends, I think I may already know what is going to happen in the next book, but I am still curious.
Overall it is a good read that lacked a wow factor. It was pleasant and entertaining. I would recommend it but I am not screaming it to the rooftops. Grab it on Amazon when it is a freebie, cause then you can get the Audible for 2.99!
Ms. Parker soon acquires buyers and sellers for homes, but evidence she uncovers during these home tours makes the reader believe she's found the kidnapper. It is a wild ride with many twists and turns in addition to numerous laugh out loud moments. It all comes together at the end and the reader can finally give a sigh of relief.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it to all - especially Janet Evanovich fans. You will love this book - trust me!
The author left one of the many mysteries unsolved - prompting readers to get her next book in the Deadwood trilogy to find the answer. I've already downloaded my copy and plan to start when I am done here. Great job Ann!
John Podlaski, author
Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel