Category Archives: Tessa Wegert

Review: The Dead Season by Tessa Wegert

Title: The Dead Season by Tessa Wegert
Shana Marchant Series Book Two
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 351 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Senior Investigator Shana Merchant has spent years running from her past. But she never imagined a murder case would drive her to the most dangerous place of all—home.

After leaving the NYPD following her abduction by serial killer Blake Bram, Shana Merchant hoped for a fresh start in the Thousand Islands of Upstate New York. Her former tormentor has other plans. Shana and Bram share more than just a hometown, and he won’t let her forget it. When the decades-old skeleton of Shana’s estranged uncle is uncovered, Bram issues a challenge: Return home to Vermont and solve the cold case, or the blood he spills next will be on her hands.

As Shana interviews members of her family and the community, mining for secrets that could help her solve her uncle’s murder, she begins to realize how little she remembers of her childhood. And when Bram grows impatient and kidnaps again, leaving a trail of clues Shana alone can understand, she knows his new victim will only survive if she wins the psychopath’s twisted game. In order to solve one mystery, Shana must wade into her murky past to unravel another.


The Dead Season by Tessa Wegert is a complex mystery set in Upper New York and Vermont.

Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) Senior Investigator Shana Merchant is currently suspended due to events from her last case. Forced to deal with her lingering PTSD from her kidnapping by serial killer Blake Bram, her meeting to discuss returning to duty is just days away.  However, she is drawn into two cases that, although they occur in two different locations, are unexpectedly linked. The first case is the kidnapping of a local nine year old boy that occurred during a school trip.  The other case is much more personal and takes her back to the small town where her family lives. The remains of her long missing uncle Brett Skilton have recently been discovered and she has no choice but to investigate the case in order to save a life.  Will Shana unearth the truth about Brett’s death before it is too late?

Shana is undergoing counseling for her PTSD while currently staying with her friend, Sheriff Maureen “Mac” McIntyre. But instead of focusing on her recovery, she is distracted by the kidnapping and discovery of Brett’s bones. Shana is planning to go back to Vermont when she fears that Bram is involved in the current events. Despite being urged by both Mac and her co-worker, Investigator Tim Wellington to stay away from the cases, Shana has no choice but to return home in hopes of finding out what happened to her uncle due to her fear of what Blake is going to do next.

Back home, Shana’s investigation means talking to family members who are not exactly happy to discuss long ago events. She also decides to reconnect with her old friend Suze. Shana ended their friendship when they were teenagers due to some of Suze’s choices.  As she continues digging into the past, Shana is absolutely stunned at the information she uncovers.  But does anything she learns bring her any closer to figuring out who murdered Brett?

The Dead Season is a riveting mystery with interesting characters and an intriguing storyline.  Shana is an intuitive investigator but she has not been completely honest about her kidnapping.  With a sense of urgency that increases with every chapter, Tessa Wegert brings this clever police procedural to a twist-filled conclusion.  Old and new fans of the Shana Wegert series will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in the wonderful series.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Shana Marchant Series, Suspense, Tessa Wegert, The Dead Season

Review: Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert

Title: Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A storm-struck island. A blood-soaked bed. A missing man. In this captivating mystery that’s perfect for fans of Knives Out, Senior Investigator Shana Merchant discovers that murder is a family affair.

Thirteen months ago, former NYPD detective Shana Merchant barely survived being abducted by a serial killer. Now hoping to leave grisly murder cases behind, she’s taken a job in her fiancé’s sleepy hometown in the Thousand Islands region of Upstate New York.

But as a nor’easter bears down on her new territory, Shana and fellow investigator Tim Wellington receive a call about a man missing on a private island. Shana and Tim travel to the isolated island owned by the wealthy Sinclair family to question the witnesses. They arrive to find blood on the scene and a house full of Sinclair family and friends on edge.

While Tim guesses they’re dealing with a runaway case, Shana is convinced that they have a murder on their hands. As the gale intensifies outside, she starts conducting interviews and discovers the Sinclairs and their guests are crawling with dark and dangerous secrets.

Trapped on the island by the raging storm with only Tim whose reliability is thrown into question, the increasingly restless suspects, and her own trauma-fueled flashbacks for company, Shana will have to trust the one person her abduction destroyed her faith in—herself. But time is ticking down, because if Shana’s right, a killer is in their midst and as the pressure mounts, so do the odds that they’ll strike again.


Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert is an intriguing, old-fashioned whodunnit.

Thirteen months after a harrowing ordeal with a serial killer, Senior Investigator Shana Merchant and her fiancé relocate to a small town in Upstate New York.  The much slower pace and lack of serious crime is just what Shana needs as she continues to recover from her experience. With a nor’easter bearing down on them, Shana and fellow Investigator Tim Wellington are called to a private island to investigate the disappearance of Jasper Sinclair. Fearing the worst due to the amount of blood on the scene, Shana and Tim soon attempt to narrow in a suspect while they investigate what happened to the missing man.

Shana is still trying to come to terms with the lingering aftereffects of her kidnapping. She struggles with PTSD and flashbacks during the investigation into Jasper’s disappearance. Shana also lacks self-confidence in her instincts due to therapist’s less than encouraging diagnosis. After a couple of incidents which leave her doubting herself even more, Shana fears her future with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is in jeopardy.

Shana is rather introspective as she reflects back on her kidnapping and aftermath.  While she implicitly trusts Sheriff Maureen McIntyre with the truth about what happened to her, she has not revealed any of her past to Tim. As the investigation unfolds, certain events demand an explanation and Shana is forced to divulge  her secrets.  But is she disclosing everything about what happened to her while she was in captivity?

Taking place over the course of a day, Shana and Tim’s investigation moves at a snail’s pace. Due to the storm,  they are on their own as they interpret the crime scene and scant clues.  The Sinclair family is not exactly forthcoming  during questioning.  Shana doggedly persists in her quest for answers and with each revelation, she is finally beginning to make progress in narrowing the suspect pool. With the situation becoming more volatile, will Shana and Tim catch the killer before it is too late?

Despite a bit of a slow start, Death in the Family is a compelling mystery with a flawed but appealing lead protagonist. The storyline is well-developed and the investigation into Jasper’s disappearance is quite fascinating. The island setting is very atmospheric and vibrantly springs to life. Tessa Wegert keeps the perpetrator’s identity and motive for the murder cleverly under wraps until the novel’s dramatic conclusion. I highly recommend this first installment in the Shana Merchant series to readers who enjoy police procedurals.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Death in the Family, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, Tessa Wegert