Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Book 1 in the Deadwood Mysteries Series) by Ann Charles introduces us to Violet Parker. She’s a single mother of twins trying to make it on her own as a real estate agent. We learn early on that this isn’t quite her forte, but she really wants to be successful so that she can continue live and raise her children in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota, which she loves. But on top of tough sales, young girls have gone missing in this small town, and they all eerily resemble Violet’s daughter. With police baffled and ineffective, she enlists the help of a few friends and it’s up to Violet to try to get to the bottom of it.
The books are currently free for Amazon Prime members (which I am and I would have taken advantage of it had I known to hold out), but I didn’t break the bank too badly on it so I’m not that upset.
I think Ms. Charles provided very witty dialogue and the jokes were fresh and frequent. That’s difficult to accomplish so I really give her credit. It did get a bit slow at times, but this a mystery so there’s not always a lot of opportunity for action. Besides, the protagonist is an ordinary mother of two in her mid-thirties. Her priorities are elsewhere. She’s actually a pretty relatable character too.
I actually liked how the romantic angle developed even though I’m not very attached to the characters yet. I just enjoyed the dynamic and the approach because it wasn’t always predictable what would happen during their encounters.
I figured out the killer before the half way mark but I still think it built suspense fairly well with the climax at the end. I was going into this expecting a LOT more paranormal than I got. This is a mystery first and foremost followed by an equal dose of romance and comedy. There is only a dash of paranormal activity which was a bit of a let down, but that’s just my personal preference. I think the series has potential so I will read the next one since I already have it. That will determine if I’m willing to read Book 3 which comes out soon.