A Safe Place for Dying, the first in Jack Fredrickson's highly acclaimed Dek Elstrom mystery series, was nominated for the Shamus Award for Best First Novel. Now, Chicago P.I. Dek Elstrom is back in an electrifying new mystery.
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.
Fredrickson delivers on the promise of A Safe Place for Dying (2006), a Shamus Award finalist, with this fine follow-up. When an attorney informs PI Vlodek "Dek" Elstrom that he's been named executor of the estate of Louise Thomas of Rambling, Mich., curiosity and a $700 fee are enough to send Dek from his home in Rivertown, Ill., to desolate Rambling, even though he's never heard of the deceased woman. Dek finds more mystery in Thomas's shack blood spatters, remnants of a frantic search and an old Underwood typewriter. Dek eventually figures out how he and Thomas connect, but in the process unearths mysteries involving an advice columnist, a bank robbery, arson and murder. Dek is an appealing combination of bloodhound and bulldog, albeit one still in the puppy stage. 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.