Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Fiction Review: Be with the Dead

I rarely read whole book series, but I am completely hooked on the Ann Kinnear series by Matty Dalrymple! I just read book 6, Be with the Dead, in this gripping, engrossing series about a woman who solves mysteries by communicating with ghosts. In this novel, Ann gets involved with two different mysteries, both involving mystery/thriller authors.

Ann is settled in her cottage on the beautiful grounds of the local winery that was the site of the last book, A Serpent's Tooth. She has been asked to speak at the Gotham Crime Fiction Conference about her experiences solving mysteries by speaking with the dead. Her liaison is Darren Van Osten, an editor who has worked for years with best-selling thriller author Jock Quine. Unfortunately, Jock was killed recently in an armed robbery of his mansion in Princeton, and Darren is struggling to work with Jock's son, Alec, who is supposed to be continuing the series. Alec might not work out, so Darren is hoping to keep his editing business alive with a promising new client, Lara Seaford, whose first thriller novel is already winning awards.

Meanwhile, down in Ocean City, Maryland, cozy mystery author Marilee Forsythe is desperate to get out of her contract for another cozy "berry mystery" so that she can follow her true passion and become a thriller author. To this end, she is pressuring her son, Jeremy, and his wife, Jeanette, to repay the loan she gave them so she can buy out the rest of her contract. After Marilee is attacked leaving a reading in a local bookstore, she refuses to leave her ocean-front condo, forcing Jeanette to make repeated trips from their home in Pennsylvania to Ocean City to act as her courier and errand-runner. Jeanette is trying to be patient with her mother-in-law, but Marilee isn't the easiest person to deal with.

Ann ends up getting pulled into both of these situations, using her unique talents to unearth some secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave. As with the other Ann Kinnear books, this one is propulsive, filled with action, danger, and unexpected twists. Besides being great thrillers, these books also feature Dalrymple's excellent writing. The characters feel real and three-dimensional (Ann and her family are practically close friends to me by now!), and she makes her settings come alive with details. I loved the subject matter here, focused on thriller writers, editing, bookstores, and the publishing industry. This is another great entry in this engaging, addictive series!

392 pages, William Kingsfield Publishers

You can also read my review of the first book in the series, A Sense of Death.


This book fits in the following 2023 Reading Challenges:


Alphabet Soup Challenge - B

Literary Escapes Challenge - Maryland


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Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.


Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links provide a small commission to me (pennies per purchase), to help offset the time I spend writing for this blog, at no extra cost to you.


You can buy the book through, where your purchase will support the indie bookstore of your choice (or all indie bookstores)--the convenience of shopping online while still buying local!   

Or start with the first book in this wonderful series, The Sense of Death:


Or you can order Be with the Dead from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read anything by this author, but it sounds like a really good read.