Just as a murderer dumps his corpse into the lake across Valley View in Lily Dale, Bella Jordan happens to be at her window, not quite realizing what she’s seeing. Unbeknownst to her, the killer spots her silhouette and prowls straight to her door. That is, until he’s interrupted by a black cat. A superstitious gambler, he takes off, but Bella’s seen too much, and he vows to return.
Jiffy Arden, a neighborhood kid looking for the black cat and stumbling across the killer, begins to have premonitions of being kidnapped during the season’s first snowstorm. Sure enough, when it strikes, he vanishes, never arriving home from the bus stop. While her son, Max, believes Jiffy has been kidnapped, Bella is convinced he’s just wandered off as he typically does… until a body shows up in the lake.
Now everyone is pulling out all the stops to find the missing child, identify the victim, and collar the killer. And fast, because he’s coming for Bella next in Dead of Winter.
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Third book in A Lily Dale Mystery series
Dead of Winter by Wendy Corsi Staub is the third book in A Lily Dale Mystery series. The night before Bella Jordan heard a scream out on the lake and the next morning she discovers a dead body wrapped in a tarp on the shore. Then Max’s friend, Jiffy Arden (who manages to lose his belonging on a routine basis) disappears one day during snowstorm. To top it off, Misty Starr (Jiffy’s mom) disappears. What is going on in Lily Dale? Did Jiffy see something the night the body was dropped into the lake?
Dead of Winter is not a standalone novel. You need to read the first two books in the series prior to Dead of Winter. The story is told from multiple POVs which makes for a confusing story (and frustrating). It switches between Bella, Max, Jiffy, Misty, and the killer. Then there are the multiple townspeople who all seem to be psychic (but cannot find the missing kid or prevent him from being kidnapped). The paranormal elements are not believable (come across as contrived). I felt that Dead of Winter needed a rewrite and editing. There is a significant amount of repetition (the same details over and over). The story also jumps around (the multiple POV thing). Dead of Winter lacks flow and continuity (and it way too long). The ending was unfinished. Important details were left out (like what happened to the four stolen gold rings). The mystery is one that plays out and readers are not given a chance to solve the murder. I did not enjoy reading Dead of Winter (it was blah). This was the last A Lily Dale Mystery for me.