Dead End by Gerald W. Darnell is another book in his Carson Reno Mystery series. I have read another book of this series, Murder and More. I had enjoyed the murder mystery plot of that book and was curious to read another one of Gerald’s detective plots. He did not disappoint; in fact, this was a full-fledged suspense novel, which kept me on the edge of my seat. Carson Reno runs a detective agency, Drake Detective Agency. One day, he receives his lawyer and partner, Jack Logan, in his office. He brings his client, Cletus Wormhill and seeks detective Carson’s help to keep him safe. According to him, Cletus has some valuable and crucial information that may prove to be life threatening. Therefore, it is essential that Cletus remains safe until his scheduled appearance in front of the secret grand jury. This does not seem a very critical task to Carson, so he asks his associate, Joe Richardson, to a motel in Humboldt. However, his gut feeling tells him that something is very fishy and he should not trust Cletus.This “simple task” turns into a blood bath when many people, including Cletus, begin disappearing and destroyed dead bodies begin appearing.
If a mystery novel is able to capture its readers’ attention to each event and conversation of its characters, then that is definitely a book worth spending time on. Dead End gets a major plus in this parameter. The signature laid back attitude of Carson Reno is evident in the beginning chapters; however, as the plot takes a more serious turn, his attitude changes. Murder and More and Dead End, both the books show a consistency in the actions and characteristics of Carson Reno, which is a welcome trend in Gerald’s writing. His frank responses to the threats are quite entertaining. There is something about this macho behavior that develops a need for me to imagine the person exhibiting such bold character; however, the author has not mentioned Carson’s physical characteristics. With no mention of his height, build, and other traits, I had a hard time visualizing him. Of course, Gerald’s excellent dialogues made up for that minor issue. The curiosity increases exponentially until Gerald wants it to end — another welcome attribute of a murder mystery.
The narrative writing style of the author does complete justice with the demand of the plot. Other than this, the believable dialogues add to its overall appeal. The addition of graphics is another amusing factor in Carson Reno Mystery books. These graphics present cars, specific buildings, areas, and other useful objects to entertain and educate the readers.
The introduction of common characters is exactly the same in both, Dead End and Murder and More, which seemed a little strange. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that Drake Detective Agency has only one case for several days. This may be a subjective opinion, but I would have liked for Marcie, the receptionist of Carson, to inform him about messages from other potential clients. I understand that this might have jumbled up the plot a bit, but the author could have kept those other cases short and sweet while keeping the main focus on this central story.
All said and done, this book has all the elements of a fascinating murder mystery, and the fans of this genre would not be disappointed. This book would, undoubtedly, keep the readers captivated in the web of suspense.
P.S. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.