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by Sam Wiebe
Quercus, February 2018
288 pages
ISBN: 1681440237

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In the second in his Dave Wakeland series CUT YOU DOWN, Dave has been hired by a college teacher to find a missing student, Tabitha Sorenson. The student was a member of a student government which was investigated for theft of over a million dollars. Tabitha was exonerated but soon after she disappeared.

Dave and his younger sister Kay, who is learning the business, begin a very methodical search when in walks Dave's ex-girlfriend Sonia, a police officer. She asks Dave to follow her senior partner who is behaving strangely. Now Dave has two women in tow and he feels strongly that while they are very good at what they do, they both need protecting, specially since Dave's work always leads him into situations where he gets beaten up.

It doesn't take very long to find Tabitha and unwrap what really happened with the missing money, but not before Dave gets beaten up, walking into traps in his bullheaded way. But he does manage to inform his client, Dana Essex, of Tabitha's whereabouts.

The next day Tabitha is found dead, cut up severely by knives. Dana Essex has conned Dave and, I must say, the reader. Right in the middle of the book, Dave must rethink everything that has happened. And he must bear the responsibility for Tabitha's death. And of course to make matters worse, Dana disappears, but she keeps phoning him, to tease him, to warn him, who knows why?

Meanwhile Dave has uncovered Sonia's partner's involvement in a protection racket. Dave takes several more beatings but manages to get to the bottom of both his cases with the serious help of his sister Kay. In the denouement, Dave is taught that he might be the one who needs protection when Sonia figures things out and comes to his rescue. Score one for the women.

CUT YOU DOWN is an edge of the seat thriller. I held my breath through the last fifty pages. Was this going to be the end of the Dave Wakeland series, with Dave cut down by one of several knives in the killer's possession? Or was it going to be Sonia who is cut down, leaving Dave once again alone, facing terrible odds?

Sam Wiebe has done a great job of scaring the pants off the reader, developing Dave's character, and introducing two new female characters. Wiebe is a literate and witty writer and CUT YOU DOWN is a worthy second in a series that, one hopes, will be followed by many more Wakeland novels.

Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Reviewed by Susan Hoover, January 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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