Jesse Thorpe is a carpenter and member of a local band, who happens to be a P. I. on the side. The P. I. part doesn't seem to take up too much of his time or draw much attention to itself, few people in his life know that's one of his professions. Still, he's had a few clients, taken care of a few cases -- enough to give him some confidence in what he does. Then one day, a fishing trip is interrupted by a former client, who just found herself in the middle of circumstances surrounding the murder of her married lover. Who happens -- well, happened -- to be the Governor of Maine.
Maybe Jesse could use a little more experience.
It doesn't take long before Jesse is working for his former client and two other people to investigate the murder, while the FBI and local police are stymied. Jesse's client isn't the only one that the Governor had an affair with, and the investigation into the affairs keeps Jesse busy and turns up plenty of motives for murder. It'll take all of Jesse's creativity, and the efforts of a motley crew of clients, bandmates, his sexy girlfriend, a friendly policeman, and a lotta luck for Jesse to clear the innocent and make sure the guilty pay.
I really don't think the psychic adds anything beyond a chuckle or two, but that could just be me.
There were a few places where the book could've used some editing and proofreading -- but only one that took me out of the scene, so I'm not going to get into it. Well, there was also the repeated use of "FBI Officers" instead of "Agents," but that was easy enough to chuckle about and move on.
The first couple of chapters were difficult to wade through -- dialogue seemed to be more about short speeches than anything, and the first few people talking about the murder sounded like they were contributing to or reading a news release about it. But once Jesse gets hired and things start to happen, Schmidt settles in and the writing improves. The only complaint I have after this is that he tends to over-explain things -- especially the humor. He needs to trust himself and his readers a bit more and dial that back.
There's not much more to say, Dead Down East is a pretty good mystery with a cast of characters that I'd enjoy seeing more of. Give Jesse a shot.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion -- which influenced me not one whit, but I do appreciate it. I'm sorry that I filed it under "December Reads" and not "October Reads" like I'd said I would.