"The Dead of Night" By Elaine Viets: Review/Giveaway

Review by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

The prosperous community Chouteau Forest, Missouri, has resisted most attempts to break down the walls of its exclusive and white-dominated population, but a surprising threat appears with the Halloween Chouteau Forest University fundraising “A Night in Mean Gene’s Curse Crypt” auction. While the Howl-o-ween University Benefactors’ Club intended the social event to be a way to pad their already considerable endowments, it also grants the “winner” membership into the Chouteau Founders Club. Fueled by ego and not a little bit of alcohol, an absurd bidding war arises between the old guard Du Pres family and new money heir Trey Lawson determined to buy his way in. After a winning bid of an absurd 1.4 million dollars, Trey and his loyal girlfriend also earn the privilege of spending the night in the legendary cursed crypt of former University scholar Eugene Franco Cortini. It also becomes the couple’s resting place, as when the crypt is opened the following morning both their bodies are found, brutally murdered and defiled.

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Lydia Fynch’s loyalty as a girlfriend came into play when she defended Trey against rape allegations, testifying on his behalf, and going so far as to insult and slander his accuser. That leads to the woman’s boyfriend becoming a main suspect in their deaths, as not only is Nathan Tucker working class, he is also black. Having been raised by a mother who often worked as a maid for the Du Pres and other wealthy families, Death Investigator Angela Richman has lived in both worlds and seen the influence of the moneyed families. The relentless thorn-in-her-side Detective Ray Greiman roadblocks Angela’s attempts to competently solve the case, as his loyalty is to the social-climbing police chief who protects the social elite. Even as Angela and her trusted Detective Jace Budewitz attempt to navigate past the barriers thrown up by those who consider themselves above the law, they often find themselves pressured to close cases early by those who do not believe that justice should treat everyone equally.

By this seventh of the series, the initial premise of Angela’s struggle to regain her life and career after a series of devastating strokes no longer plays a factor in her daily life. Instead, the challenge facing Angela is how to move on after the death of her beloved husband. She had believed that Donegan would be her one and only true love, and allowing herself to love again seems like a betrayal to him and everything they had together. 

Another equally compelling theme, one that is explored extensively in Elaine Viets’ Dead-End Job Mystery series, is the divide between economic classes. Along with the haves vs. the have-nots is a battle between New and Old Money, with the families of generational wealth looking down upon those who may have more recently earned their money. It’s fortunate that Angela is supported by her best friend Dr. Katie Kelly Stern, who not only provides much-needed personal advice but is also Chouteau Forest’s medical examiner. This novel is at its compelling best when it blends in smaller, but equally fascinating murder cases along the way, depicting not just Angela’s daily work life but the continual prejudices that the community faces every day. A final wrap-up chapter summarizing the fates of all the suspects and criminals delivers the most satisfying moments of all, with justice somehow winning in the end. The dry humor and witty observations of Angela and her friends ensure its place as a top-tier installment by a prolific and very talented author.

To enter to win either an ebook or print a copy of The Dead of Night, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "night,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 20, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. Be sure to state if you want ebook or print. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up last week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
 Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Elaine sets her stories in Missouri locals.
    Having spent a lot of time in Missouri, I enjoy
    figuring out where the location for the story
    might be in reality. Really enjoy her books.
    thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Elaine Viets has become one of my favorite authors. I first found her in a couple of short story collections then I discovered her Dead End Jobs and Secret Shopper series.

  3. I enjoy this author, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

  4. Sounds like a terrific book from a well-proven author. I'd love to have a copy, thanks for the chance to win one. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  5. I would love to win a print copy of The Dead of Night. I have enjoyed numerous books by this author.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  6. crys101497@gmail.com I would love to win this book. Elaine does such a great job with this series. I'm loving this series by Elaine.

  7. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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