Friday, September 07, 2018

FFB Review: Dead In The Water by Ted Wood

For this first Friday in September, I offer you an all new review of a book series that I started only because of Aubrey Hamilton. She recently reviewed the ninth book in this series titled Flashback. It sounded so good I wondered if the Dallas Public Library had them. They have most of the series including the first several. That allows me to meet my compulsion to read series in order from the start. Because the books were available you have this new review today to consider. For more reviews and books you should consider, head over to Patti Abbott’s blog
Library Hardback and Review

Published in 1983, Dead In The Water begins the series featuring Chief of Police Reid Bennett. Ex-military, ex Toronto officer, this disgraced-- in the eyes of some—cop is the Chief of Police for Murphy’s Harbor located in the Muskoka cottage country. Roughly two hundred miles north of Toronto, Murphy’s Harbor is a resort town where nothing violent ever happens. The worst of it is dealing with drunk tourists, drunk residents, and those, adult and teen, that like to pick at the scab of what Bennett did one night in Toronto.

Bennett is “Chief” in name only as the police force is pretty much him. He does have some help answering phones and such by a grizzled WWII ex vet named Murphy. Then there is, Sam, a German shepherd that he relies on to help him as needed.

So, when the tourists are upset, Chief of Police Reid Bennett is the only one to call and it does not matter if Bennet has lady friend spending the Friday night or the fact that it is three in the morning. Not only does the phone call from Murphy make it clear that there are upset tourists involved, so is the son of a town councilor. Politics and tourism are always a deadly combination in a town that relies on tourists to survive.

Ken Sullivan’s son was out on a date with the daughter of a tourist. Lucy for the young man that she could handle herself as she pulled him back into the boat after he was run over and hit with the propeller. She saved his life. Once he gets her dad out of the way and calmed down a bit, he talks to Jane Bryant and learns the boat they were in hit something in the channel. Something was out there in the water and they never saw it before they hit it and the young man was ejected from the boat. 

By just before dawn he finds the boat floating about a mile upstream from the marina dock Chief Bennet and his police dog, Sam, had left minutes earlier. He tows it back to the dock where he finds Murphy waiting for him. Murphy recognizes the boat and tells Chief Bennet that the boat belongs to a good friend, Ross Winslow. Why that boat was out there on the water, with no sign that the fishing rods had been deployed or that anyone one was or had been onboard, is strange.

After some much needed sleep, Bennett learns that Winslow, a punctual man in his routines, seems to be missing. If that is not enough, a biker gang Bennett tangled with back in Toronto may be headed their way and looking to settle some scores with Bennett.

Things escalate rapidly in Dead In The Water by Ted Wood. New York thugs, a damsel in distress, plenty of action with violent outcomes, and more make this police procedural a very good read. It is also the first book of the series I would not have gone looking for if not for the review work of Aubrey Hamilton. She recently reviewed Flashback which is the ninth book in the series. As I am compelled to read all series from the beginning, I started here. Dead In The Water by Ted Wood is a great start to a series.

Dead In The Water
Ted Wood
Charles Scribner’s Sons
ISBN# 0-684-17958-X
Hardback (also available in paperback and digital formats)
175 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library. 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2018


Gerard Saylor said...

I enjoyed this when I read it a handful of years ago. Since then I've read a couple others in the series. I recall not enjoying all the Sam The Wonder Dog Does Amazing Things! parts.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I finished the second one in the series while hanging out at UTD yesterday afternoon/evening waiting for Scott to get out of class. So far, I am still okay with SAM THE WONDER DOG though I can see how that would grate after awhile.

Gerard Saylor said...

I checked my notes and I've only read two Wood novels so far. That other book was WHEN THE KILLING STARTS. I enjoyed WHEN's Northern Ontario setting with Bennett out in the middle of the forest. The mercenary angle was a bit of a stretch from reality but makes perfect sense for that time of the mid-'80s when Central America was a cauldron.

Rick Robinson said...

This is an excellent series, at least through book 4 or 5, though after that I don't remember as much about them, as that's how far I got rereading them. I liked Sam's character, and a one-man police force can certainly stand a well trained "canine officer". Especially when he can "keep" and "hold". MURDER ON ICE may still be my favorite.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Having just finished MURDER ON ICE the other night (review appears on FFB in a couple of weeks), I think that book might be better than this one. That book is a really good book.

Gerard Saylor said...

Cool. I'll have to get back to the series. I recall another blogger posting in FFB about how Wood just up and stopped publishing. A bit surprising but maybe sales petered out and his publisher dropped him.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Could be. Somebody wrote me a week or two ago and said that he passed away. Don't know what did happen. Just know I enjoy the books.