Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne book for
St. Martin's Minotaur
(January 20, 2009)
A lawyer calls Dek with a fast, seven-hundred dollar proposition. A dead client named Dek to execute her will. No matter that Dek didn't know the woman. No matter, too, that the woman's estate was only worth a few hundred. Happens all the time, the lawyer said.
To Dek Elstrom, broke and huddling in a cold stone turret in the middle of February, the sound of seven hundred falling down his chimney is louder than his voice of reason. He agrees, heads up to a hamlet ten miles north of nowhere. But instead of finding an easy-to-close estate, he finds blood and the markers of a shattered life. And something worse: links to the darkest part of his own past. He races to chase down leads to the killer, and his own ghost…before the dead woman is killed again.
Honestly Dearest, You're Dead is another clear winner for Fredrickson - Nancy Pearl, National Public Radio - A March 2009 Pearl's Pick
"...quirky, affecting...his eccentric first-person slant on things makes Elstrom good company, and his exploration of his client's and his own bittersweet histories makes this poignant thriller something quite out of the ordinary." - Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal Books - February 7, 2009
A private eye is expected to be whip-smart and tough as nails, but if the guy isn't likable, he's D.O.A. as a genre hero. So it's nice to note that Vlodek Elstrom (known as Dek), a shamus from a tumbledown town in northern Illinois who was introduced by Jack Fredrickson in “A Safe Place for Dying,” has lost none of his initial appeal in its sequel, HONESTLY DEAREST, YOU'RE DEAD (Thomas Dunne / St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95). With his rich back story as a disgraced and discredited (and subsequently divorced) investigator, Dek has plenty of baggage to haul around. Not to mention endearing quirks like setting up shop in a stone turret (the only part of his grandfather's mansion that was ever completed) or a misanthropic loathing of the chain stores that are devouring the American landscape. (“Someday, they'll move all the Starbucks inside the Wal-Marts,” he predicts, “and that will mark the last time mankind will see the sun.”) But none of this drollery interferes with his investigation into the mystery of why an unknown woman named him executor of her estate, or why she died in such a brutal manner. Although Dek can be a cutup, his explanation for his obsessive search for the truth — “It was about respect” — reveals the bedrock of decency that makes him a seriously good guy. - Marilyn Stasio, New York Times SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW - January 25, 2009
"Fredrickson delivers on the promise of A Safe Place for Dying (2006), a Shamus Award finalist, with this fine follow-up. . . Fredrickson's light touch, nicely drawn secondary characters and clever plotting make this a promising series with enough substance to make a meal, not just a snack." - Publishers Weekly
"The prose is polished, the plotting deft and dotted with sneaky surprises. And Dek, likable in his debut ( A Safe Place for Dying, 2006), is even more engaging here." - Kirkus Review
"Fredrickson's wonderfully convoluted plot is populated with a cast of believable characters, but he finds his greatest achievement in his sleuth, who makes mistakes and admits them, gets caught in a trap he sets himself, but in the end triumphs. For all mystery collections. " - Library Journal - (Starred Review)
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