25 April 2011

Review: Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel

Alice Wynter Dunn has secrets that not even her husband of eighteen years knows about. She left Redding, Maine, in 1984 to go to college and has never looked back. As far as Alice and her twin, Chris, were concerned, their senior year in high school couldn't have ended too soon.

When she answered the middle-of-the-night phone call informing her that her mean-spirited, alcoholic father had committed suicide, Alice wasn't sure what to think. By the time she arrived home to help her mother, Alice learned that her father had actually been murdered and her brother, the prime suspect, is nowhere to be found.

Spencer Seidel's Dead of Wynter is a mix of thriller, family drama, and murder mystery that is told in the present with flashbacks to the year that everything changed for the twins. Seidel reveals the Wynters' past in small bits that are well timed to give a foundation for the family's current behavior. The action scenes are exciting, but the mystery is foreshadowed enough that the impact of the ending is somewhat weakened.

The plot and setting would translate beautifully to film, but as a novel, the story is uneven. You are left wanting to know more about the Wynters and the detective as well as the town itself. There are very few characters outside the immediate family, which not only narrows the answer to the mystery but limits one's perspective of the family.

Regardless, Dead of Wynter is a fast, entertaining read. I am looking forward to Seidel's continued growth as a writer.

Dead of Wynter at Powell's
Dead of Wynter at Book Depository
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Published by Publishing Works, May 2011
ISBN-13: 9781935557692
YTD: 41
Source: Review (print) (see review policy)
Rating: C
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

9 comments:

Julie P. 4/25/11, 7:56 AM  

Sounds like a perfect mix!

Zibilee 4/25/11, 8:58 AM  

Oh, it does sound as if this one had some potential that it didn't deliver on. I am not sure if I would read it, but I did appreciate your straight and honest review of it's flaws and highlights. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Barbara 4/25/11, 9:02 AM  

Thanks for the review. I hope your assessment of this writer's potential comes to fruition.

Kay 4/25/11, 9:23 AM  

This does sound interesting. I always love mysteries that delve into the past - family secrets, etc. Thanks for sharing!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 4/25/11, 10:22 AM  

It must be such a challenge to find the 'right' number of characters in a book. Too many, not adding to the plot/development look like red herrings or loose ends. Too few (as in this case, it seems), and we feel boxed in.

Interesting thoughts that it would translate well to film, I wonder if that might be in the works ...

Nise' 4/25/11, 1:36 PM  

I like a book with family dynamics/secrets. This premise of a family member returning home after a death to discover it was murder is familiar.

bermudaonion 4/25/11, 3:15 PM  

It sounds like the book has a lot going for it - too bad it's uneven.

Beth Kephart 4/25/11, 3:54 PM  

This name Wynter — it keeps cropping up in odd places in my life.... :)

Martha@Hey, I want to read that 4/26/11, 10:23 AM  

Interesting, that while not a great book you can see the seeds of a good author. Thanks for the honest review.

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