Published in 1983, Dead In The Water begins the series featuring Chief of Police Reid Bennett. Ex-military, ex Toronto officer, this disgraced– in the eyes of some—cop is the Chief of Police for Murphy’s Harbor located in the Muskoka cottage country. Roughly two hundred miles north of Toronto, Murphy’s Harbor is a resort town where nothing violent ever happens. The worst of it is dealing with drunk tourists, drunk residents, and those, adult and teen, that like to pick at the scab of what Bennett did one night in Toronto.

Bennett is “Chief” in name only as the police force is pretty much him. He does have some help answering phones and such by a grizzled WWII ex vet named Murphy. Then there is, Sam, a German shepherd that he relies on to help him as needed.


So, when the tourists are upset, Chief of Police Reid Bennett is the only one to call and it does not matter if Bennet has lady friend spending the Friday night or the fact that it is three in the morning. Not only does the phone call from Murphy make it clear that there are upset tourists involved, so is the son of a town councilor. Politics and tourism are always a deadly combination in a town that relies on tourists to survive.


Ken Sullivan’s son was out on a date with the daughter of a tourist. Lucy for the young man that she could handle herself as she pulled him back into the boat after he was run over and hit with the propeller. She saved his life. Once he gets her dad out of the way and calmed down a bit, he talks to Jane Bryant and learns the boat they were in hit something in the channel. Something was out there in the water and they never saw it before they hit it and the young man was ejected from the boat.



By just before dawn he finds the boat floating about a mile upstream from the marina dock Chief Bennet and his police dog, Sam, had left minutes earlier. He tows it back to the dock where he finds Murphy waiting for him. Murphy recognizes the boat and tells Chief Bennet that the boat belongs to a good friend, Ross Winslow. Why that boat was out there on the water, with no sign that the fishing rods had been deployed or that anyone one was or had been onboard, is strange.


After some much needed sleep, Bennett learns that Winslow, a punctual man in his routines, seems to be missing. If that is not enough, a biker gang Bennett tangled with back in Toronto may be headed their way and looking to settle some scores with Bennett.


Things escalate rapidly in Dead In The Water by Ted Wood. New York thugs, a damsel in distress, plenty of action with violent outcomes, and more make this police procedural a very good read. It is also the first book of the series I would not have gone looking for if not for the review work of Aubrey Hamilton. She recently reviewed Flashback which is the ninth book in the series. As I am compelled to read all series from the beginning, I started here. Dead In The Water by Ted Wood is a great start to a series.



Dead In The Water

Ted Wood

Charles Scribner’s Sons


ISBN# 0-684-17958-X

Hardback (also available in paperback and digital formats)

175 Pages



Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2018

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