Review: Mark W. Danielson introduces Ft. Worth homicide detective Maxx Watts in the whodunit-style mystery Writer's Block.
The Guillotine Press is an independent publisher of mysteries, owned and managed by Charlie Coulter, himself a mystery writer … though he certainly never expected to be center stage in a murder investigation, especially when it's his own. Coulter is found bound at his desk, at which he was working on a new manuscript. He had been struck with a marble paperweight with the words "Writer's Block" carved on it but that is not what killed him. Rather, he choked to death on two sheets of paper from the manuscript he was working on. Watts and his partner Blaine Spartan look first to the dozen or so authors represented by the publisher, none of whom had a good relationship with Coulter though they all had ironclad contracts with him that prevented them from discussing their work, agreements they continued to honor even though he was dead. Even Coulter's wife is refusing to cooperate. The subsequent murder of one of the authors initially appears to have little connection to Watts's investigation, as it has all the hallmarks of a hate crime. Still, Watts cannot easily dismiss the coincidence of the murders. With little to go on, Watts proceeds to methodically work through the list of suspects, eliminating them one by one …
Writer's Block is an incredibly suspenseful crime novel with a well-developed cast of suspects that maintains its mystery until the very end. As the first in a series, Maxx Watts comes across as a likeable character, a down-to-earth guy, one who bears grudges and has his own insecurities but when all is said and done is fair and caring. He is single, lives alone and hopes to find a woman to love … and maybe he already has. Readers will definitely be looking forward to his next case.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Writer's Block.
Acknowledgment: Night Shadows Press provided a copy of Writer's Block for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Night Shadows Press (Hardcover), September 2008
ISBN-13: 9780979916748; ISBN-10: 0979916747
Location(s) referenced in Writer's Block: Ft. Worth, Texas
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Writer's Block by Mark W. Danielson — A Maxx Watts Mystery
Publisher: Night Shadows Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 2011
List Price: $15.95