Friday, March 29, 2024

Review: The Dying Five 2: Caught Dead-Handed by Jennifer Wright-Berryman

 Genre: Mystery


“Your favorite Hospice Heroes are on the case again, but this time, they’re gliding their walkers and wheelchairs through Indianapolis to catch the killer of a young homeless shelter volunteer, which hits Mary right in the heart, since she used to be homeless herself.

Our savvy dying detectives are in cahoots with Sylvia Winters, a pharmacy mogul with terminal cancer, who has an underground operation to help the homeless and poor get the medications they need. But when her primary distributor is murdered, she realizes someone is trying to take her organization down. She seeks out the help of The Dying Five, who are excited to unmask yet another murderer.

The Dying Five do not know who they can trust in Sylvia’s inner circle. Everyone looks suspicious and motives for murder abound. Each of the heroes faces peril as the case twists this way and that, the clues leading them everywhere but to the killer. Just as they think their journey to exact justice is coming to a close, there’s another twist, one that could turn the tables on all of them. However, TD5 will not be deterred; this unlikely cast will chase the culprits with the help of some homeless friends until the criminals are caught and sent to the clink, even if it means facing the most menacing murderous monster of all.”


An associate professor of social work at the University of Cincinnati, Jennifer Wright-Boatman does research into serious subjects involving death from suicide prevention to equitable death care. The Hospice Heroes mystery series, of which this book is the second, gives her a chance to combine her love of a good mystery with her areas of expertise.


This mystery kept me guessing as to who the culprit or culprits were going to be. I took it on faith that they would be identified, typically a reasonable assumption in a mystery. Unlike some mysteries I didn’t find myself thinking I knew who the guilty party was, then realizing I was wrong, and in the end thinking the clues were all there to see and I just missed them. The reality is some of the clues were there, but this mystery involved uncovering a lot more clues and figuring out how they tied together than a typical mystery.

Of course, this is also far from a typical mystery. “The Dying Five” (or TD5 as it is frequently abbreviated in the book when the current leader of TD5 is recording what they have found in a notebook to pass down to future members of TD5). We know there will be future members of TD5 because, by definition, the TD5 is made up of a team of five people who are literally dying, each with some malady that is going to cause their death in the not too distant future. At this point in life they may not be in great shape physically (some requiring walkers, wheelchairs, or canes to get around as depicted on the series book covers), but they are still sharp mentally and want to do something positive for the world while they still can. As one member of TD5 dies, someone else will be recruited to take their place. As evidenced from past notebooks, they’ve been around awhile and solved lots of cases, but this is only the second case with a book about it. As is probably obvious, the members of TD5, their physical struggles and the mental struggles brought on from their current condition, provide inspiration that is a bonus in addition to the typical mystery as well as the varied personalities and views on things giving TD5 a different feel to their mysteries from the norm. It all makes for a fun read.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

This review is based on an ARC (advanced reviewers copy) and thus I can’t gauge the final product in this area.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

No comments: