Deep Winter

Deep Winter

Mysterious Book Report No. 178

by John Dwaine McKenna

A resonating theme of mine is one which finds developmentally-challenged individuals accused, and often convicted, of crimes they did not commit. Their very oddness often causes them to be found guilty by acclimation in the courts of public opinion. They are, in fact, the low-hanging fruit that’s sometimes irresistible to ambitious, overeager law enforcement types of the enfranchised, or vigilante variety. The latter in fact, was the motif of August 2012s coming of age novel, The Whim-Wham Man, (Rhyolite Press LLC, $15.00, 149 pages, ISBN 978-0-9839952-1-0) by John Dwaine McKenna.
Now comes a first novel published February 20, 2014 championing just such a cause. Deep Winter, (Blue Rider Press/Penguin, $25.95, 290 pages, ISBN 978-0-399-16596-2) by Samuel W. Gailey is, just like The Whim-Wham Man, about a developmentally disabled man named Danny, who has a talent for carving small animals from wood . . . in this case, birds. And, just like The Whim-Wham Man, Danny is falsely accused of killing a young woman, and just like The Whim-Wham Man, the real killer manipulates the evidence to divert attention from himself and focus it on someone intellectually unable to mount a self-defense. Interestingly, the eerie similarities between The Whim-Wham Man and Gailey’s Deep Winter ends there . . . but then the juxtapositions begin. The Whim-Wham Man takes place in Colorado, just as summer begins, while Deep Winter, named for the time of the year the story takes place, is located in eastern Pennsylvania. And lastly, The Whim-Wham Man is himself a murder victim, while Deep Winter’s Danny lives to tell the tale.
This has been an unusual MBR to be sure, but, lest there’s confusion, as Michael Connelly’s iconic and lonely LA Homicide Detective Harry Bosch was heard to say, “I don’t believe in coincidences.” And, like Mark Anthony, who came to bury Cesar, not to praise him . . . I review to encourage readers, not dissuade them.
Both books are available on Amazon. Read them yourself and make your own decision about the review. As always your comments are welcome . . . and solicited.Deep Winter

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