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Dead Man's Hand [Hardcover]

Penny Warner
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 32.32
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Book Description

April 2007
In DEAD MAN'S HAND, Connor is on an emotional roller coaster, with hearing love interest Dan Smith and deaf advocate Josh Littlefield controlling the gears. Dan has proposed, and while she loves Dan, she isn't sure she wants to be married, since her parents divorced as a result of her deafness. Besides the fact that hearing and deaf people come from two worlds, marriage implies dependence to Connor, the one thing she's been fighting against her whole life. Josh, recently widowed and actively pursuing Connor, is single-parenting his young deaf daughter, whom Connor adores. But Josh has also grown more radical over the years, and has plans to establish a nearly self-sufficient Deaf Community at a nearby ghost town. He's recruiting other disgruntled deaf residents by securing jobs at the local-and controversial-Indian casino, where hearing isn't essential and sign language is easily understood. Deaf people feel a solidarity with the Indians, also displaced people. As the town becomes divided on several issues-medical marijuana growing, tree-sitting terrorism, anti-gambling religious cults, and reactionary survivalists-Connor senses an undercurrent of malevolence. The casino controversy is keeping Connor too busy to examine her real feelings, but her sense proves portentous. The infamous and historic landmark, the Hanging Dummy-an image of a prospector carved from wood-swings from a rope over a Flat Skunk gold-mining shop, in effigy for all the poor hanged souls of the mining years. But it's suddenly lost an ear. Connor's roller-coaster is about to pick up speed with a whole new set of distractions-the appendage turns out to be human.

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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Fast-Paced Read July 16 2007
By Debra Purdy Kong TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Lots of interesting people live in and around Flat Skunk these days: religious cults, survivalists, environmentalists, pot growers, and gamblers, to name a few. Yet, journalist and newspaper manager, Connor Westphal, takes all of this in stride. Fringe groups have always been drawn to quiet spots on the map. After all, one can pretty much do what one wants in remote locales, except when it comes to murder.

When the townsfolk realize, courtesy of Connor's dog, Casper, that the ubiquitous wooden dummy hanging in front of the town's gold-mining shop has been exchanged for the body of Zander Nicholas, Connor's determined to get the scoop on this story. Questions and theories compel her to take a closer look at the fringe groups. Complicating Connor's life is the reappearance of her former boyfriend, Josh, newly widowed, and proposing marriage. For Connor, this is an unsettling issue because her current love, Dan, had also proposed recently. Afraid of losing her independence, she's avoided giving Dan an answer. With all the personal turmoil and quirky, not-so-friendly suspects milling about, it's no surprise that Penny Warner's DEAD MAN'S HAND is a fun and face-paced read.

Deaf protagonist, Connor, is an appealing character, and the main reason why I'll keep reading Connor's adventures. While she does take big risks to get answers, Connor's moxy is a large part of her personality, and this trait makes her unpredictable. Her fear about marriage provides an intriguing contradiction to her confidence in her professional life. I truly enjoy spending time with Connor Westphal, and look forward to her next adventure.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Fast-Paced Read July 11 2008
By Debra Purdy Kong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lots of interesting people live in and around Flat Skunk these days: religious cults, survivalists, environmentalists, pot growers, and gamblers, to name a few. Yet, journalist and newspaper manager, Connor Westphal, takes all of this in stride. Fringe groups have always been drawn to quiet spots on the map. After all, one can pretty much do what one wants in remote locales, except when it comes to murder.

When the townsfolk realize, courtesy of Connor's dog, Casper, that the ubiquitous wooden dummy hanging in front of the town's gold-mining shop has been exchanged for the body of Zander Nicholas, Connor's determined to get the scoop on this story. Questions and theories compel her to take a closer look at the fringe groups. Complicating Connor's life is the reappearance of her former boyfriend, Josh, newly widowed, and proposing marriage. For Connor, this is an unsettling issue because her current love, Dan, had also proposed recently. Afraid of losing her independence, she's avoided giving Dan an answer. With all the personal turmoil and quirky, not-so-friendly suspects milling about, it's no surprise that Penny Warner's DEAD MAN'S HAND is a fun and face-paced read.

Deaf protagonist, Connor, is an appealing character, and the main reason why I'll keep reading Connor's adventures. While she does take big risks to get answers, Connor's moxy is a large part of her personality, and this trait makes her unpredictable. Her fear about marriage provides an intriguing contradiction to her confidence in her professional life. I truly enjoy spending time with Connor Westphal, and look forward to her next adventure.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read My Lips -- And This Book July 30 2007
By takingadayoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Weekly newspaper editor Connor Westphal is a Kinsey Millhone with fewer hang-ups. She's independent almost to the point of pushing other people away and lives in a quirky home in a small California town. Connor is also deaf. This allows author Penny Warner a chance to give readers a glimpse of deaf culture.

Unlike Kinsey Millhone however, Connor has let both a hearing-ear dog and a gorgeous private eye into her life. Over the years, I've come to look forward to Penny Warner's mysteries more than I do to Sue Grafton's. Connor seems to be heading toward a pleasant future while I'm afraid Kinsey's destined for a tragic end.

I have to admit, the mysteries in the Connor Westphal books are not what draws me in. In fact, if I read the books again I would not remember who killed who and why. I enjoy the descriptions of the Gold Country and its history, finding out how Connor copes in a hearing world, and the soap opera of her relationships.

I came across the first Connor Westphal book by chance, in the lobby of a hotel on a beach in Portugal. It was storming and there was nothing to do in a town that subsisted mainly on beach tourists. The bar was closed and the unpaved roads were muddy and led nowhere. My husband was sensibly fighting boredom by taking a long nap and I'd finished the books I'd brought. I wandered to the lobby, turned the TV on and started flipping channels when the Basil Fawlty-like hotel manager came in, turned the TV off and told me "It doesn't work." In spite of high-definition evidence to the contrary, I sighed and flopped into the chair. On the table was Dead Body Language, the first Connor Westphal mystery.

That book got me through the rest of the rainstorm. I figured my desperation had made me enjoy the book more than I would have in other circumstances, but after I got home I read the next one and the third and enjoyed them every bit as much as the first.

In Dead Man's Hand, as in the previous novels, I found the mystery less compelling than the controversies over cochlear implants, a planned deaf-only community, Indian casinos, and the sideshows of Connor, Dan, Josh, Caspar, and the rest of the Flat Skunk gang. (By the way, the cochlear implant debate is explored in an excellent and disturbing documentary called Sound and Fury.)

I am so glad that anonymous guest left her(?) Connor Westphal book. Thank goodness it wasn't a Tom Clancy novel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read Dec 3 2007
By N. H. Flaskerud - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Connor Westphal is a girl who knows no fear. Always going out, finding adventure upon adventure. Located in California's Gold Country, these books offer a flair for capturing the flavor of the foothills, and all that goes along with small town, country life, with interesting geography created by gold mining over a hundred years ago. Connor is deaf, experiencing more challenges than most adventurers would, but Penny Warner does a great job as author of describing the reality of dealing with life as a deaf person. Connor experiences such a huge variety of folks, her stories are all delectable to read. Her love life adds spice to the novel. Keep em coming Penny!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penny Warner's Dead Man's Hand Nov. 11 2007
By Champion of the Underdog - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I absolutely LOVED this book, as I have every single one of Penny Warner's Connor Westphal mysteries. My only regret is that we readers have to wait so VERY long between books. While I wish she would write more frequently, I would hate for her books to ever become formulaic. As far as I am concerned, Penny Warner is one of the best, most entertaining mystery writers of our time. (and I am a pretty harsh critic!)
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll enjoy this book. It's guaranteed! A mystery solved by our heroine..with her dog's help. Sept. 7 2013
By Unknown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These books give us so much information on the world of the deaf. Our heroine is spunky and takes lots of changes to solve her mysteries. Our hero, naturally, tries to keep her safe. At the beginning of the book the heroine is wearing a ring the hero gave her on her right hand. She is undecided as yet whether or not to be engaged. By the end of the story we'll know an answer. No, I'll not give any clues... well her dog does agree.
Theila
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