Dream Girl

A Maine Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
349 Pages
Reviewed on 09/01/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Dream Girl is a work of fiction in the historical mystery genre and is the latest installment in the Maine Mystery series. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Willee Amsden. The book follows Maine handyman Dexter Davis after he’s asked to look for a missing farmer, accompanied by a waitress named Lu. As the two seek answers both in town and in a nearby reservation, the turbulent events of 1937 make life hard, and it turns out that the missing farmer is being searched for by more than just his wife.

I can honestly say that whilst I’ve enjoyed many works of historical fiction over the years, there haven’t been many that have so vividly whisked me away from my 21st-century life and made me feel like I’m walking the streets of a forgotten world. The eye for detail that author Willee Amsden demonstrates in every paragraph creates a gritty but beautiful recreation of 1930s America, helped in no small part by the authentic cast of characters led by Dexter and Lu. Both protagonists feel fully fleshed out and realistic as their aspirations and flaws pull them ever closer to the center of the engrossing mystery at the heart of this narrative. Overall, Dream Girl uses a many-layered approach to its mystery that allows for the protagonists to delicately peel away lies and intrigue, with each freshly peeled layer giving a deeper insight into the world around them. An authentic slice of American history with a deep and exciting mystery at its center. I'd highly recommend this book to all.

Rabia Tanveer

Dream Girl: A Maine Mystery by Willee Amsden is a historical fiction novel packed full of mystery and suspense that will have you gasping out loud. Set in the late 1930s, Dexter “Dex” Davis was a war veteran and now a handyman in Bangor Maine. The war did a number on his mind, and when Dex started to have terrible dreams of a young woman being in trouble, he thought nothing of it. But when Amos Slade went missing along with a young girl, Dex was suspicious. When Etta Slade asked Dex to find her missing husband, Dex was joined by Lu, a waitress who had troubles of her own. The two will have to think fast because the only witness to the disappearances was Amos’s mentally challenged son. Someone or some people were doing everything they could to stop Dex and Lu from getting to the truth. Can they find Amos and the young girl before it is too late?

With the Great Depression and the Polio pandemic in the background, author Willee Amsden crafted a fantastic tale of suspense and mystery. This is not your usual mystery novel with twists that make you scoff. Amsden did research to make sure the characters were fully developed, and the story had a solid foundation to build upon. You hardly come across such masterful mysteries anymore. It reminded me of Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd because the background building was just as excellent. The narrative style was perfect, the pace was perfect, and the characters were perfect. There was hardly a moment when I was able to predict something. Sonny was my favorite after Dex and was, perhaps, the only person who could change the story. The ending was unexpected and beautiful! I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves to read and not just mysteries.

Heather Stockard

Dexter Davis has been living a quiet life in Bangor, Maine, ever since he came home from the war nearly twenty years ago. It’s the 1930s and the recession has hit everyone hard, but he scrapes along doing odd jobs. Then two things happen. First, he meets Lu, the beautiful new waitress at his favorite diner. Second, he takes a job looking for a missing farmer and businessman, Amos Slade. Dexter’s investigation leads him into the dark underbelly of Bangor, a mess of corruption that reaches even the local police force, where he discovers that Slade’s disappearance is connected to another missing person, a young prostitute he’d been seeing at a local brothel and that there are huge sums of money at play, not to mention reputations. So, it's no surprise that Dexter isn’t the only one investigating. Between the increasingly convoluted case and his evolving relationship with the lovely and spicy Lu, Dex begins to wonder if he’s bitten off more than he can chew.

Dream Girl, a prequel of sorts to Wilee Amsden’s Annie McCauley Romantic Comedy Mystery series, is a nail-biting whodunnit set in 1930s Bangor, Maine. It works perfectly as a stand-alone novel or as a supplement to the popular series. Amsden, a Maine native himself, infuses his latest book with gritty realism and lovely description, not to mention a touch of romance. The mystery is expertly plotted and Amsden’s subtle clues, red herrings, unexpected twists, and all too human characters will keep readers guessing until the last page.