The Dead Bell by Reid Winslow (2021, Quid Mirum Press)
The Dead Bell drew me completely in from the get go. It has all the makings of an excellent murder mystery. Tom Edison is a cop in Lake County, Illinois, north of Chicago, called in to solve the murder of a society matron found dead in her back yard in the ritzy lakefront community of Lake Forest. Tom has the necessary accoutrements for hard boiled detective: an ex-wife, an estranged son, his own unresolved trauma, an alcoholic wild man for a sidekick, and an eye for the wrong woman.
With those ingredients, it’s just up to the author to bring them together correctly, and Reid Winslow does a masterful job. The Dead Bell is the best sort of mystery book, the kind that makes you forget you are reading a book and simply takes you along for the ride. Which is not to say that the book is all fast action and dialog. There is a lot of literary heft to it – backstory, descriptions, character development, an introspective protagonist, digression, side stories, and a complicated plot. But Reid Winslow’s writing flows so naturally you absorb all this without stumbling at transitions or having the writing itself get in the way of first-rate storytelling.
All in all, I am so impressed! The Dead Bell is so polished and the plot keeps the reader guessing all the way through. I’ve read plenty of mysteries published by big-name authors and publishers that aren’t nearly as good as this – not even close! Congratulations to Winslow on his accomplished debut and here’s to more books in the Tom Edison series.
Less in the nature of "full disclosure" and more because I am excited about it, I'll mention that I've known Reid Winslow for a long time because we are both lawyers in Portland and worked together, briefly, many years ago. Many lawyers have a fantasy to write mystery novels, so I am excited for and proud of my friend for making it happen!
I read an advanced copy of The Dead Bell and part of my review is blurbed on the back cover. If you order a copy (and I think you should -- it's a terrific read) you will also get a little souvenir of your being a Rose City Reader reader. 😃