TED WOOD – Snowjob. Reid Bennett #9. Charles Scribner’s Sons, hardcover, 1993. Worldwide Library, paperback, 1995.

TED WOOD Reid Bennett

   When I think of Canadian mystery writers, three immediately come to mind: Eric Wright, Lawrence Gough, and Ted Wood. All are good, and Wright and Wood are among my favorites. Reid Bennett is Chief and one-man force of a small Ontario town, but often for one reason or another leaves his venue, and the books seem more like hardboiled PI stories than police procedurals.

   Here Bennett comes to a Vermont ski town to aid a Viet Nam buddy in trouble. Doug Ford, black, ex-Marine, local cop, has been arrested for the murder of a local woman. He tells Bennett that he was working with her undercover to bust a money laundering scheme involving local bigwigs and New York Mafia.

   The problem is that he was doing it on his own and didn’t tell anyone in the Department. The problem is compounded by Ford’s personal grudge against the Mafia bigwig, dating from his days as a NYC cop. The frame is tight, the local force is honest but inexperienced, and no one but Bennett believes him innocent. So Bennett and his wonder-dog Sam go to work.

   I’ve never thought that plotting was one of Wood’s strong points, and I’m confirmed in that view here. From the original premise to a confusing if not confused ending, I thought this plot was weak. What I have enjoyed about the series is the well-developed character of Reid Bennett, and the fast paced and forceful writing of Wood; and I still do.

   Wood is an ex-Toronto policeman, and though these are in no sense procedurals there is authenticity to the parts that deal with police work. They are usually violent books, and this is no exception., though it’s less violent than some previous ones.

   I continue to enjoy the Bennett series, though much less than I would if the plots were better. This is not the best of them by any means, but I’d still recommend it to Wood fans.

— Reprinted from Ah, Sweet Mysteries #8, July 1993.

      The Reid Bennett series —

1. Dead in the Water (1983)

TED WOOD Reid Bennett

2. Murder On Ice (1984)

TED WOOD Reid Bennett

3. Live Bait (1985)

TED WOOD Reid Bennett

4. Fool’s Gold (1986)
5. Corkscrew (1987)
6. When the Killing Starts (1989)
7. On the Inside (1990)
8. Flashback (1992)
9. Snowjob (1992)
10. A Clean Kill (1995)