Dead Man's Hand Reviews

Looking for something a little different this summer?  Try a Connor Westphal mystery from Danville’s own Penny Warner.  Connor, a deaf journalist in the small town of Flat Skunk, finds that the town is in an uproar because someone has defamed the Hanging Dummy, an infamous historic landmark.  The hanging effigy, which represents all the poor souls who found themselves facing the rope in the mining years, has lost an ear -which just happens to be human

Add to this a controversial-Indian casino, some medical marijuana growing, tree-sitting terrorism, anti-gambling religious cults, and reactionary survivalists, not to mention a marriage proposal that sends Connor into a tail spin.  It is never a dull moment as Connor battles the elements with her own brand of grace and daring.

– Diane Van Tassell    


Although the title of the book is Dead Man's Hand, it is not a hand  but a
different appendage that is found attached to  the wrong body. This is not the
whole of it, of course, as Connor  also grabbles with the complications that
come with an Indian  casino, a religious cult,  and reactionary survivalists,
for  starters.

Further, there is not only the issue of her relationship with (hearing) Dan 
which has grown throughout the series, but now with Josh who feels  that there
should be a totally self-reliant and separate Deaf  Community. Josh has a
feeling of solidarity with the Indians, whom he sees  as outsiders--like himself.

Dead Man's Hand is witty, clever and full of surprises.  Connor  is a
treasured friend whom I have to remember is not real--the mark of  a well-crafted

A+ on this one with the hope that the next Connor mystery will come out 
sooner than the last one did!

– Karen Dyer


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 fast-paced

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.

– Debra Purdy Kong