Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review: Dutchman's Puzzle

Author submission in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Dutchman's Puzzle
Marte Brengle 
Release Date:
March 2011
Logan Books LLC
Word Count:
approx. 79,000
Purchase Links:
Author's Website:


Dave Van Meer was a traveling man. All he needed was a temporary job, a temporary home. Sooner or later it would be time to move on. He liked it that way.

Eleanor Ward's eleven-year-old twin son and daughter had never seen their father. He was an explorer, she told them, off to see the world.

A snow storm, an icy sidewalk, a chance encounter in an Iowa town. Strangers with excellent reasons to forget the way things once were. Could they have a future together? Or would someone from the past destroy it all?

And what evil was growing in this out-of-the-way small town? Suddenly, the world was watching... 

Joey’s Review:

Ever get hold of one of those books that subtly draws you in, and you find yourself immersed … and you don’t completely know why?

That’s a bit how I feel about Dutchman’s Puzzle.

Okay, let me explain a little, try to put my finger on that indescribable why.

There’s not a lot of high drama in this story. There is a sub-plot involving computer viruses, but it’s not over the top.

There’s not much angsty love and loss happening in the book. The love is there, and so is the loss, but it’s not raging.

When I first started reading, I wondered what the point of the book was. Normally, this is a red flag that gets me wondering if the book is worth investing my time.

I didn’t get around to that moment of wondering, because I was too busy reading. Dutchman’s Puzzle was a mellow, quiet, but engaging story.

I liked Dave. I liked Eleanor. I liked the twins. Heck, I liked everyone in the story.

I think what really won me over was the small-town vibe of the book. The author did a great job of embracing the flow of life in a small town. The book was realistic. The love story was paced slow but steady. The reveal of the father of the twins made sense.

This didn’t really feel like a romance novel. It felt like a story.

I don’t know what else to say. I just enjoyed the read. I took breaks at work to get fifteen more minutes of reading in.

I guess, ultimately, the reason I was hooked was this: I felt like I met some real people. I liked them, and I wanted to see what happened to them. Book-selling these days feels like you’re watching an episode of Batman and Robin. You have to hook the reader –WHAM! You have to keep their interest at all costs – BIFF! You have to keep the energy and tension and drama high, high high – BAM!

In the desperate bid to maniacally pace a book in order to keep the interest of a readership that has the attention span of gnats, it’s a welcome relief to read a story that trusts the reader can sit back, kick up their heels, grab a glass of iced tea, and let the leisurely currents of the story carry them along.

It appears there is at least one other book set in the small community of Lyric, Iowa. Which makes me smile, because I wouldn’t mind taking another tour of the town.

Joey's Rating:


  1. Thank you so much for the review! Needless to say, I am thrilled to find that as an author I accomplished what I wanted to do. And yes, there is another book in the series--Closed Circuit, which tells the story of Adam and Ruth.


  2. I saw that on a Google search,tonight, Marte, and I'm looking forward to giving it a read. Thanks for sharing Dutchman's Puzzle!


  3. Great review Joey! You captured exactly how I feel about this book - it's definitely a *story*.