The best book I read this month was a mystery that swept me away: Death in Cold Water by Patricia Skalka. I read it in a single Sunday, abandoning my laundry and food prep plans so I could find out whodunit and why.
The book is, I belatedly discovered, the third in a series. I have since read the first two, and I think this third book is the best of the three. (There is a fourth book, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.)
The entire series is set in Door County, a peninsula near Green Bay, Wisconsin that is a popular summer vacation spot. (I’ve been. It’s charming and beautiful. The town of Sister Bay, in particular, reminds of Laguna Beach, CA, with all its art galleries.) The “detective” in the mystery series is Dave Cubiak, a transplanted Chicago cop now working as the Door County sheriff. Skalka does a nice job of balancing Cubiak’s struggle to start over after losing his wife and child (in events that predate the series) with his efforts to acclimate to his new job and surroundings.
In Death in Cold Water, Cubiak is tasked with solving the disappearance of the peninsula’s wealthiest resident. The victim’s connection to the Green Bay Packers leads to FBI involvement and a focus on terrorism, but Cubiak’s gut tells him something else is going on. The tale twists and turns, laying out details at just the right pace. When Cubiak does solve the mystery, it’s satisfying but by no means a happy ending.