DEAD WIND: A New Shana Merchant Investigator Novel by Tessa Wegert

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 17, Issue 3, March 2022

Tessa Wegert's DEAD WIND is a new novel released in hard cover on 5 April, 2022 – just in time for a summer read! This is Tessa's third novel in a series that takes place in the Thousand Islands. Already, it’s getting strong reviews:

DEAD WIND by Tessa Wegert takes place on Wolfe Island, in the Thousand Islands [Photo courtesy www.]

I can vouch for the reviews, for when I read her first novel, Death in the Family, I was mesmerized by the number of clues as to the actual perpetrator of the crime. Was it the brother, the girl friend, the sister . . . ? The list went on and each one certainly could have been the murderer. So you ask, who was it? How did Senior Investigator Shana Merchant figure it out? Nope, I won't tell (I’m not falling for that trick!) but suffice it to say, I loved it!

A description of DEAD WIND is similar. "The body is discovered on Wolfe Island, under the shadow of an enormous wind turbine. Senior Investigator Shana Merchant, arriving on the scene with fellow investigator Tim Wellington, can't shake the feeling that she knows the victim - and the subsequent identification sends shockwaves through their community in the Thousand Islands of Upstate New York."  Of course the reader will not be surprised as the the synopsis of the book goes on . .  "Politics, power, passion . . . there are dark undercurrents in Shana's new home, and finding the killer means dredging up her new friends and neighbors' old grudges and long-kept secrets."  

Tessa has a journalism degree from Concordia University in Montreal, and is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Adweek, and The Economist. It was her husband who first brought her to the Islands, to introduce her to his family. The result is that she’s just as enamored with the islands as the rest of us. The difference is that Tessa captures her imagination on paper and provides us with amazing detective mystery stories.

We asked Tessa how these novels "came to her" and why in the Thousand Islands? Also, why the character of Police Investigator, Shana Merchant? The answers are almost as fascinating as the books are.

Tessa has been visiting the Islands for summer vacations for the past 20 years and felt the islands would be a "cool setting for detective mystery story". She has been here in summer storms and has seen the transformers blow on the mainland. She knows what it is like to have to cross the River by boat and how isolation on an island can be both welcomed and worrisome.

Always writing poetry and short stories when the idea to write a novel came about, the Islands seemed the perfect venue. Her character was created easily – a strong woman, but vulnerable and  with a secret past of her own. However, Tessa knew nothing about the basics, whom do you call when there is a murder, who responds? What are the police procedures to follow in our region of the Thousand Islands?

As it happened, she called the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 5:30 one evening when most of the staff had gone home, but Sheriff Colleen O'Neill, the real "Sheriff in town," answered the phone. Tessa explained what she was doing and the type of information she needed, and Sheriff O'Neill was, as Tessa says, "extremely generous with her time and knowledge." As a result, in the first novel and subsequent ones, the police work described is factual, not made up.

Because DEAD WIND partially set in Canada on Wolfe Island, Tessa once again, needed procedural information, so she found out about the Canadian procedures by contacting the Coroner’s Office  for Frontenac County.

The first novel was meant to be a stand-a-lone, but her editor thought otherwise and persuaded Tessa to create a series built around Senior Investigator Shana Merchant. The good news is even though this, her third novel is available in hardcover this month, a fourth one is already in the works and will be coming next year.

If you want to meet Tessa Wegert in person, mark your calendar for July 2 and visit the Little Book Store in Clayton, NY, for a book signing. And if you want to meet Senior Inspector Shana Merchant- it’s easy – buy the books and if you do either, please tell Tessa or Shana that Susie sent you.

Canadian readers: Tessa Wegert's books are available at Beggars Banquet Books, 126 King St. E, Gananoque ON K7G 1G2, Canada.

Telephone: 613 463 8998 Website:

By Susan W. Smith,

Posted in: Volume 17, Issue 3, March 2022, Book review

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