2020 Silver Falchion Finalist

The Mask of Midnight by Laurie Stevens

The Dead of Summer: A Piper Blackwell Mystery
by Susan McCormick

Boone Street Press
ISBN 978-1732526716
Publication Date: July 5, 2019
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The Dead of Summer: A Piper Blackwell Mystery

Review by Gregg E. Brickman

The Dead of Summer is the third title in the Piper Blackwell Mystery series. Piper Blackwell is a too-young sheriff in Spencer County in southern Indiana. She has a background as an Army MP, but is learning domestic law enforcement from her more experienced deputies, both of whom think they’d be better at her job than she is.

The story begins with two very exciting chapters detailing a tragic accident at the county fair. The narrative then shifts to solving the murder of a local comic book and gaming store owner who is found brutally murdered in his home. A second body, this one belonging to a young man, is found in the trunk of the dead man’s car. A second young man is missing.

The sheriff and her deputies follow multiple leads while struggling with limited resources, long hours, and confusing clues. Meanwhile, the public is seeking answers about the tragedy at the fair.

The powerful opening chapters centered around the county fair tragedy that killed five people snare the reader. Then, as the story progresses it shifts to a more traditional mystery. It is an interesting and entertaining read.

Gregg E. Brickman was born in North Dakota. She completed her education in Florida and embarked on a varied career in clinical, administrative, and academic nursing. Credits include Imperfect Escape, Imperfect Defense, Illegal Intent, She Learned to Die, Plan to Kill, Imperfect Daddy, Imperfect Contract, Illegally Dead, Chapter 14 of Naked Came the Flamingo, a Murder on the Beach progressive novella edited by Barbara Parker and Joan Mickelson, and On the Edge, a short story [MiamiARTzine.com]. The Writers’ Network of South Florida recognized On the Edge among the finalists in their Seventh Annual Short Story Contest. Gregg resides with her husband, Steve, on the Northern Cumberland Plateau in middle Tennessee.