After a life spent chasing money and breaking hearts, it’s less a matter of finding a suspect than somehow narrowing down the crowd to determine who finally snapped; and when it comes to poking around in ancient small-town secrets, Packard is more than qualified.
The second in a series is where I really decide if I am going to follow it or not – and luckily for me, Joshua Moehling has taken a promising debut, and solidified its promise with a follow-up that is not only a great book, but a very promising sign of the series to come. It’s such a balancing act with procedurals – you have to have a book that stands on its own, but that moves the longer-running elements ahead too. Preferably there’s enough momentum to be interesting, but without either going too far or not far enough; with the one you end up with a series that throws too much at the reader in each instalment, while the other way ends up losing steam and becoming repetitive and slow. Where the Dead Sleep, though, absolutely nails the balance; Packard is settling into his new life here, even as a new mystery promises to keep him using his detection skills to their utmost.
That balance works in other areas of the book, too. Events are exciting and the mystery compelling, but still felt like they could be taking place in the real world. Packard and the people of Sandy Lake that we’re getting to know are great characters; they make me look forward to getting to read the next in the series. And while Where the Dead Sleep wraps up into a book that could stand alone by the end, there’s some hints there that future books will be very interesting indeed. I’ll be here for it, and in the meantime will be recommending these books to every procedural fan I know.