The Dead Season

Author: Tessa Wegert

Publisher: Berkley Publishing

Genre: Police Procedural, Traditional Detective Mysteries, Women Sleuths

Pages: 352 pages

Average rating: 3.92

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Senior Investigator Shana Merchant has spent years running from her past. But she never imagined a murder case would drive her to the most dangerous place of all—home. 

After leaving the NYPD following her abduction by serial killer Blake Bram, Shana Merchant hoped for a fresh start in the Thousand Islands of Upstate New York. Her former tormentor has other plans. Shana and Bram share more than just a hometown, and he won’t let her forget it. When the decades-old skeleton of Shana’s estranged uncle is uncovered, Bram issues a challenge: Return home to Vermont and solve the cold case, or the blood he spills next will be on her hands.

As Shana interviews members of her family and the community, mining for secrets that could help her solve her uncle’s murder, she begins to realize how little she remembers of her childhood. And when Bram grows impatient and kidnaps again, leaving a trail of clues Shana alone can understand, she knows his new victim will only survive if she wins the psychopath’s twisted game. In order to solve one mystery, Shana must wade into her murky past to unravel another.

 I loved this subtle, uncomplicated yet gripping police procedural psychological thriller.


Buddy Read

For this buddy read each reader was provided a physical copy of the book. Our readers are encouraged to post along the process from receiving the book to posting a creative photo of the book along with their review across social media platforms, Goodreads, and retail sites. 

Readers are hand picked for each title and will be notified by e-mail if they have been selected. We provide further details on how to access the title. We also inform them that we are creating a group for the chat on Instagram. The Let’s Talk Books Team will be leading our readers in an engaging discussion at the half way point and at the end of the book. 

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Discussion Questions for the first half of the book:

  1. What was your first impression of Shana? Did you read the first book or is this your first time meeting her?
  2. Were you surprised at the direction the story took?
  3. Were you expecting that her kidnapper was one of her relatives? Does this help you understand Shana better?
  4. Do you think Abe took Tray? And if so why? Was it to flush out Shanna?
  5. Do you have a theory as to where this book is going?

Discussion Questions for the second half of the book:

  1. What are your overall thoughts of the second half of the book?
  2. Do you have a better understanding of Shana and why she is keeping her cousins secret?
  3. Were you glad she told Tim?
  4. Were you surprised by who the killer was?
  5. What were your thoughts on the books ending? Will you read the next book?
  6. What is your final rating of the book?

More Highlights and Reviews

Don’t want to give any spoilers but i definitely had some emotions at the end! And then…….A freakin cliff hanger!!! Omg. I usually don’t love cliff hangers because I’m impatient haha! But i am just dying to read the next book! I need to know where it goes!! I think Tessa Wegert may be another auto buy author for me!


With a complex protagonist, a multitude of suspects, two equally compelling settings, and phenomenal writing, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘚𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯 is a great read. I enjoyed the meditations on memory—and how secrets and lies influenced people’s narratives. Shana also has to negotiate her discomfort with confiding in others.


There were a lot of shocking moments in this book which I always love! This is a total binge book and the ending makes it clear this series is to be continued!!


This series is psychologically compelling but not overly gory, which is the mystery sweet spot for me. I’d recommend it to any mystery and suspense lovers, and this series is also a great choice if you’re new to the genre!


About the Author

Hildi Todrin/Crane Song Photography

Tessa Wegert is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Adweek, and The Economist. She grew up in Quebec near the border of Vermont and now lives with her husband and children in Coastal Connecticut. 

Tessa is the author of DEATH IN THE FAMILY and THE DEAD SEASON (Berkley, 2020), both part of the Shana Merchant series of mysteries. She is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW)Mystery Writers of AmericaSisters in Crime New England, and Sisters in Crime New York

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