The award-winning Frank Nagler Mysteries, books 1-3 are compiled in ‘The Frank Nagler Mysteries’. This anthology contains: ‘The Swamps of Jersey’, ‘A Game Called Dead’, and ‘The Weight of Living.’
Read the first three books in this series back-to-back. This hardback compilation is the perfect gift for the mystery lover in your life!
This anthology of the Frank Nagler Mysteries contains the first three books in the series: Swamps of New Jersey, A Game Called Dead, and The Weight of Living, as well as a bonus short story. Set in the fictional post-industrial city of Ironton, New Jersey, each novel has a different theme, giving each a distinctive feel and a new experience for the reader. Swamps of New Jersey’s theme, to me, was about decay; the corruption and decay and breaking down of post-industrial America, where the stable, blue-class way of life most people enjoyed has gone and isn’t coming back. It’s also about what lies beneath, be it beneath the murky waters of a swamp, or behind a friendly face or respectable facade. A Game Called Dead is, on the other hand, a cat and mouse game between a ruthless, ambitious murderer and the symbolic champion of law and order. The who is almost immediately apparent, but the tension is built over what they’ll do next, and how the protagonist will prevail. The Weight of Living concerns the cycle of abuse and how people live with their traumas, alone and together.
Michael Stephen Daigle’s writing style is dynamic and vivid, with long atmospheric streams of description that let you taste the grit of Ironton’s streets in your mouth. He accurately captures the simultaneous despair and defiance common to post-industrial towns, colored by Nagler’s perspective. Nagler is not a hard-boiled detective relying on his fists and his pistol. Instead, he’s a perceptive, thoughtful protagonist, whose melancholy threatens to, but never succeeds in, dampening his sense of right and wrong. His words may be cynical, but his actions belie his inner hope that no matter how bad things look, they can get better. Wounds can be healed. Wrongs can be righted. It’s this inner conflict that makes Frank Nagler a compelling protagonist.
In the interest of transparency, I should mention that I am a member of a writing group that Michael Daigle is part of, but these books were already published well before I had joined. I purchased this anthology (and the fourth novel, The Red Hand) on my own and have received no compensation of any kind for this review.
Pick up your copy of ‘The Frank Nagler Mysteries’ today! Available in paperback, hardback and ebook formats! Then, check out ‘The Red Hand’, the prequel to this award-winning series and get to know Frank as a young detective, Martha when she was more than a memory and Charlie as he terrorizes a still thriving Ironton, NJ.