Book Review: Dead Wreckoning (Sidra Smart #3) by Sylvia Dickey Smith

Sidra Smart's search for an elusive schooner stirs up ruthless smugglers and the spirits of Privateer Jean Lafitte and Pirate Queen Mary Anne Radcliff.

Newly licensed private investigator Sidra Smart reluctantly takes on the pro-bono case of Boo Murphy, a poor, countrified woman accused of murder. When Boo tells her tale of stumbling on the Hotspur, half-buried in a Texas swamp, everyone is convinced she's found treasure worth millions.

As Sidra searches for both the schooner and evidence to clear her client, she battles an unknown enemy, and soon discovers they know their business much better than she knows hers.

After several close calls, not only does Sid question her own abilities, she discovers her trusted mentor George L├ęger is involved in illegal activities that threatens not only their friendship, but also their lives. Even Slider, her half-paranoid, half Chesapeake Bay retriever battles demons from his past as the investigation takes Sidra back to familiar small town territory. Complicated family histories dating back centuries and feuding family relationships muddy the clues and the truth seems as elusive as the spectral schooner.

When all seems lost, eighteenth century spirits of infamous Jean Lafitte and voluptuous, swashbuckling pirate-queen Mary Anne Radcliff show up to offer Sid assistance.

Well, I am so upset.  I accidentally read book three before book two in the Sidra Smart series.  I hate that!  I hate spoilers and I did it to myself this time!  When I discovered my mistake, I was so upset I had to lay on the floor in my husband's office and pout while I told him about what happened.  Apparently my mood was infectious because my cat copied me and laid down next to me. 

While reading Dead Wreckoning, Smith alluded to things that didn't happen in Dance on His Grave, but I thought she was the type of author who has lots of time and events lapse between installments in her series.  Little did I know I was ruining the plot of Deadly Sins, Deadly Secrets for myself!

Well, onto Dead Wreckoning.  This was a fun read!  I love the writing and the phrases Smith uses.  I also really enjoy reading about events happening in towns close to home.  A lot of this book centers on events on the water, including Sabine Lake, which I've been on countless times in my dad's sailboat.  It's fun to read about Pleasure Island, where I spent so much time growing up.

I liked Dead Wreckoning even more than Dance on His Grave.  I really like Sid and the way she thinks.  She's got gumption---and there's nothing I like more than a strong female protagonist.

Just One Gripe:
I found the cover to be a little off-putting.  In retrospect, it fits, but before I read the book I thought that was Sid on the front playing dress-up.

The Best Thing About This Book:
The writing.  I love the dialogue and turns of phrase Smith uses.  For example, "It seemed he carried his Cajun accent in his pocket and pulled it out whenever he wanted.  Sid never had figured out what triggered his mood for using it."  One line I really liked was, "'If you locked that man in a closet, he couldn't find his a** with both hands.'"  Hah!

Appropriate for a younger audience:

Characters:  4/5
Plot:  4/5
Setting/Imagery:  5/5
Originality:  5/5
Ending:  4/5
Total Score:  22/25


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