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Patricia Skalka Books In Order

Publication Order of Dave Cubiak Mystery Books

Death Stalks Door County (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death at Gills Rock (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death in Cold Water (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Rides the Ferry (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Hailing from Chicago, the world renowned American writer Patricia Skalka is highly regarded for her mystery novels. Weaving character and suspense together with the greatest of ease, she manages to create mysteries that are at once enticing and compelling in equal measure. Setting up characters that really leap off of the page, she manages to provide them with fully three dimensional personalities that take on a life of their own almost. Speaking directly to the reader, they are easy to relate to, whilst also giving them root for, following them throughout her series, continually coming back for more. Spanning over numerous installments, her mysteries really do have an addictive quality, which goes some way towards explaining how she has become so successful.

Her main long-running series is currently the ‘Dave Cubiak Mystery’ series of novels, which follows the former homicide detective turned park ranger Dave Cubiak. With a new mystery each and every title, she has continually delivered on her premise, keeping legions of devoted fans hooked worldwide. It is the universality of her themes and ideas that really translate, not to mention the very real human obstacles that face all of her characters. Creating an air of tension that constantly builds throughout, she is capable of setting up narratives really twist and turn in numerous directions at every page turn. Knowing exactly what is needed, she perfectly understands her craft, and what the mystery genre involves, something that she will continue to do for many years to follow.

Early and Personal Life

From a very young age, Patricia Skalka held a fascination for reading and all things literature, turning her attention mainly towards writing. This would ferment over the years, as she would come to build upon her love and passion for the craft, creating her own distinctive style of prose. Her attention would mainly be drawn towards mystery and thriller stories, something which she would continue to devote herself towards. This was continued throughout her education and long into her adult career as a full-time writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Showing a strong passion for crime stories, she would come to write with a high-degree of authenticity that many writers could only aspire to.

Living in Chicago as well as Door County, she has come to use the area to shape much of her work and stories over the years. With the peninsula being located between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, she uses the northern Wisconsin area as the backdrop to her ‘Dave Cubiak’ series. With more to come, she still writes to this day, creating mystery stories and characters on into the foreseeable future.

Writing Career

Bringing out her first novel back in 2014, Patricia Skalka made her way onto the literary scene with her debut book ‘Death Stalks Door County’. This also paved the way for the much loved ‘Dave Cubiak’ series of books, as she would follow this up in 2015 with the second title ‘Death at Gills Rock’. Over time the Dave Cubiak series would become her main franchise, with both critics and readers alike singing its many praises.

Prior to this she would largely write non-fiction work, focusing on ‘Reader’s Digest’, for whom she was a staff writer for some time. She would also work as a magazine editor, freelancer, writing instructor, book reviewer and as a ghost writer as well. All of this would come to serve her well over time, as she would take this experience, going on to become the successful writer that she currently is to this day.

Death in the Cold Water

This was first published in 2016 on the 11th October, as it would come to mark the third title in the ongoing ‘Dave Cubiak’ series of books. Coming out through the ‘University of Wisconsin Press’ publishing outlet, it would serve to continue the story of Dave Cubiak. Providing another stand-alone mystery story, it manages to create an ambiance of anticipation and excitement that really sets it apart from the rest.

As mysteries go, this really does excel many others within the genre, as it definitely makes the most of the basic format. With Cubiak already being well established, he is here found fully in the role of the sheriff, as opposed to the park ranger in the original novel. The area of Door County is also fully realized as well, as Skalka really utilizes everything it has to offer, especially with its popular tourist season in the Autumn months.

Known as ‘Mr Packer’ throughout the local community, all thanks to his support of the Green Bay football there, the wealthy philanthropist Gerald Sneider has disappeared. It all happened on one autumn day in Door County, leaving everyone to wonder whether it could be him avoiding his greedy son, his dementia, or something worse. As the Sheriff, Dave Cubiak finds his search operation obstructed by the FBI, especially after human bones are discovered washed up on the shore of Lake Michigan. Now tourists have begun to congregate on the town as well, leaving Cubiak in a race against the clock to find out what’s really going on. Can he find out in time and will he be able to do so unimpeded by the FBI? What secrets lie within the history of the town? Whose behind the death in the cold water?

Death Rides the Ferry

Marking the fourth title in the long-running ‘Dave Cubiak’ collection of novels, this would pick up from where the last left off, with another self-contained stand-alone mystery. First released on the 8th of May in 2018, it would come out through the ‘University of Wisconsin Press’ publishing imprint once again too. Continuing the story of the now sheriff Dave Cubiak, it would further develop his character to an even greater degree, along with the world that he inhabits.

With the series now fully under way and in full flow, the franchise has managed to really find its feet and what it’s about. The characters are all well established, especially Dave Cubiak himself, as he continues to remain at the forefront of all the action. Using the world of Door County effectively as its canvas once again too, it definitely manages to build upon its premise, with its sense of ambiance and atmosphere.

It’s August on Washington Island, and there’s the ‘Viola da Gamba’ music festival taking place at the tip of the Door County peninsula, which means tourists are pouring in. Everything changes though, following the shock discovery of an unidentified passenger’s body is found on one of ferries there. This puts Cubiak onto the trail of the killer, as he attempts to track them down through the most northern and stormy reaches found on Lake Michigan. Will he be able to find them? Why are they doing this? What happens when death rides a ferry?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Patricia Skalka