Dead Winter

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Brady Coyne is a fisherman of such dedication that he makes Izaak Walton look like an amateur with a cane pole and a bent pin for hook. Unfortunately, such activities are normally avocational rather than vocational, and Brady is compelled to pursue the practice of law more than he would wish. Still, he proposes to live life on his own terms; his is a selective legal practice. He accepts only those clients he believes will bring pleasure to his work and rejects all others. Surprisingly, this procedure appears to work, and Brady has both the funds and the leisure to indulge his piscatorial quests.

In this, his latest adventure, Brady combines business with pleasure as he attempts to clear the son of a long-time fishing partner of the charge of murdering his wife. It will not be an easy task, for Mark Winter’s marriage was more than a bit unconventional. Moreover, despite some early promise, it soon appears that Mark will be unable to substantiate his alibi. Nevertheless, Brady perseveres, while casting the odd fly or two, and his patient investigation uncovers not only additional murders but also family secret which has poisoned the life of the Winter family, father, son, and daughter, for more than two decades.

William Tapply’s works are witty, fast-moving, and filled with characters both intriguing and believable. Moreover, his evident love of fishing and his descriptions thereof are worthy of a frequent contributor to FIELD AND STREAM. In fact, Tapply’s interludes with line and pole are as entertaining as the cooking episodes of that other quintessential Bostonian, Robert Parker’s Spenser. So much so, that it is almost to be wished that Parker and Tapply could collaborate.