top of page
Top of Blog
wine patio book .jpg
  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Where The Dead Sleep

Series: Ben Packard (Book #2 )

Dreamscape Media

Narrator: Linda Jones

ISBN: 9781728247922

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: 08/15/2023

Format: Hardcover, Audio, e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars ++

"A dark and complex mystery that will consume you." –Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight, for And There He Kept Her

A small town's dark secrets turn deadly...

When an early morning call brings Deputy Ben Packard to the scene of a home invasion, he finds Bill Sandersen shot in his bed. Bill was a well-liked local who chased easy money his whole life, leaving bad debts and broken hearts in his wake. Everyone Packard talks to has a story about Bill, but no one has a clear motive for wanting him dead. The business partner. The ex-wife. The current wife. The high-stakes poker buddies. Any of them—or none of them—could be guilty.

As the investigation begins, tragedy strikes the Sheriff's department, forcing Packard to make a difficult choice about his future: step down as acting Sheriff and pursue the quiet life he came to Sandy Lake in search of, or subject himself to the scrutiny of an election for the full-time role of Sheriff, a job he's not sure he wants.

There's a hidden history to Sandy Lake that Packard, ever the outsider, can't see. Bad blood and old secrets run deep. But an attempt on Packard's life means he's getting uncomfortably close to the dangerous legacy of the quiet Minnesota town. And someone will do anything to keep it hidden.

About the Author

Joshua Moehling works in the medical device industry by day and writes at night.

He lives in Minneapolis.

His first novel, AND THERE HE KEPT HER, was published in 2022, (Ben Packard #1) and his second novel, WHERE THE DEAD SLEEP, (Ben Packard #2) will be released Aug 15, 2023 from Poisoned Pen Press/Sourcebook.

Connect with Joshua

My Review

Joshua Moehling (favorite author) returns following his smashing debut, where he wowed us with And There He Kept Her (5 stars) by introducing the popular intriguing hunky Deputy Ben Packard #1 and a cast of unforgettable characters.

The author returns with Ben Packard #2, WHERE THE DEAD SLEEP (5 stars)— a complex action-packed crime thriller with scandalous small-town secrets, a wealthy family, murder, and more in the rural lakeside town of Sandy Lake, Minnesota—leaving readers salivating for #3 and more Ben!

I love this series!

After a long summer, Deputy Ben Packard is back, tying up loose ends from the Emmett Burr case (from book #1). He is the acting Sheriff for Stan Shaw (currently elected sheriff of Sandy Lake County), who has cancer.

Ben (gay) is finally getting some action with a hot drummer, Brad, and hopes for a leisurely morning. However, it gets cut short when he is called in on a murder case—a dead body. The victim is William (Bill) Sandersen, husband of Carolyn (Carrie). Second marriage-two years. She has twins- grown children from her first marriage.

The case is not straightforward. William was shot twice while in bed, and his wife claims she was in the other bedroom since her husband has sleep apnea. Bill worked at Sandy Lake Auto. He also liked to frequent casinos.

His wife is the CEO of Gherlick Family Trust. She is the one with the money in the family. William (Bill) had gone out to meet his friend, Roger Freeman, a man he was to go in the chicken wing business with.

However, Ben soon discovers Bill has a thing for the sisters, as he was previously married to Carolyn's sister, Sherri. He divorced her to marry Carolyn. Carolyn dated him back in high school.

But Carrie and Bill liked to party and blow money at the casinos. The mom cut off the money, so he decides to marry for more (or love), but Carolyn does not readily hand out the money. The girls had over a million dollars each, but that was before Sherri and Bill gambled it all away.

Is Carolyn smarter than her sister? And why did the perp murder Bill and not Carolyn?


  • The business partner, Roger

  • The ex-wife, alcoholic, Sherri.

  • The wife, Carolyn.

  • The high-stakes poker buddies.

  • Or someone else?

In the middle of the investigation, a tragedy occurs. Ben is left holding the bag and must make some big decisions. Should he run for Sheriff? He likes being a detective and not sitting behind a desk dealing with politics.

However, Marilyn, Stan's wife, is backing him and many others. If he does not run, it is Barney Fife Deputy Shepherd (which is pretty much worthless except for gossip).

Then another murder and the plot thickens, plus a mysterious hummingbird pin and a letter.

Packard soon discovers there is a hidden dark multi-generational history to Sandy Lake. Bad blood and old secrets run deep. And someone will do anything to keep it hidden. Before the book ends, someone is shooting at Packard. Is he getting too close to the darkness of Sandy Lake?

Moehling serves up another excellent suspense crime novel that will keep you riveted. There is action and suspense around every corner in this multi-layered mystery crime thriller—readers, if you loved Ben Packard #1, you will devour #2.

In addition to the mystery, danger, and double murders, there is the upcoming election to stress over, and as we were introduced in Ben Packard #1, there is the cold case mystery of Ben's older brother, Kyle. There is new evidence, and it ends on a cliffhanger. We can only hope #3 comes soon!

WHERE THE DEAD SLEEP is a killer whodunit crime thriller! Based loosely on a Minnesota true crime and switched out with a victim that might have made enemies or people who wanted to kill him.

Ben is a fantastic character and has grown since the last book, where he tried to outrun his past. In WHERE THE DEAD SLEEP, he takes center stage, claims his identity, and does the right thing, even when it's not in his own best interest, all while trying to solve a murder, dodge bullets, and uncover the truth of what happened to his missing brother years ago. He is getting anything but a quiet, laid-back sleep town and no hiding out here.

You will be turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning! A massive fan of the author, Joshua Moehling, from his debut; he is a rock star, and if you enjoy small-town funny, larger-than-life characters, riveting suspense crime thrillers, and superb writing blended with dark humor with a highly relatable, smart, leading man—the Ben Packard series is for you.

WHERE THE DEAD SLEEP is for fans of authors: Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, Heather Gudenkauf, Karen Katchur, Allen Eskens, C.J. Box, and William Kent Krueger.

Joshua and Ben are here to stay! Bingeworthy and prime for the big or small screen. Top Thrillers of 2023!

MOVIE CAST: Now, if there is a movie or TV series, My vote for BEN PACKARD is the hunky, CHANNING TATUM! I pictured him when reading, whether straight or gay, who does not LOVE looking at this man in a cop uniform (or nothing at all). I concur with Lisa Gardner; Ben is my new favorite deputy!

AUDIOBOOK: I read the e-book and listened to the audiobook narrated by Linda Jones for a superb performance for all voices! An engaging listening experience. By the way, you must get the hardcover copy. Look at the cover - STUNNING! Sign up for Joshua's newsletter (website) to get all the latest details.

Special thanks to Mandy at Poisoned Pen Press for an ARC and the author for an autographed hardcover copy with swag. Also, thanks to Dreamscape Media for an ALC via NetGalley.

Check out my #AuthorElevatorSeries Q&A with Joshua with AND THERE HE KEPT HER, where we go behind the scenes of the book & the author!

@JudithDColins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Pub Date: Aug 15, 2023

Aug 2023 Must-Read Books

Top Books of 2023

My vote for BEN PACKARD is the hunky, CHANNING TATUM!!! I pictured him when reading, and whether straight or gay, who does not LOVE looking at this man in a cop uniform?


"With Where the Dead Sleep, Joshua Moehling solidifies his place as one of the best new voices in the mystery genre. Moehling nails the spirit of small-town life in Minnesota’s unique North Country. His understanding of the darkness that can haunt the human spirit twists his story in wonderfully unpredictable ways. Fans of Walt Longmire or Joe Pickett or my own Cork O’Connor have reason to celebrate and look forward to a long life for Moehling’s series and its fresh, vibrant protagonist Ben Packard." ― William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of the Cork O’Connor series

"Small-town secrets have never been so deadly in this compelling thriller featuring my new favorite deputy, Ben Packard. The plot will grab you, the characters keep you coming back for more."

― Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of One Step Too Far

"Evocative and charming with a deadpan wit, Joshua Moehling's Where the Dead Sleep is a richly satisfying mystery with fully-drawn characters―especially the winning and deeply human protagonist, Sheriff Ben Packard. Joshua Moehling's skill as a writer and storyteller is evident on every page. I can't wait to read the next installment in this excellent series!"

—Nick Petrie, bestselling author of The Runaway

"Joshua Moehling has quickly become one of my favorite must-read authors and Where the Dead Sleep shows exactly why. The characters are rich, and the small-town setting, where everyone has a secret and everyone is a potential suspect or victim, is brought vividly to life. This is a suspenseful, gut-wrenching page-turner of the highest order. Not to be missed!"

—David Bell, New York Times bestselling author of Try Not to Breathe and She's Gone

"In Where the Dead Sleep, Joshua Moehling continues the compelling journey of tough as nails and conflicted Deputy Ben Packard as he patrols his old stomping grounds of Sandy Lake, Minnesota. Exploding with secrets, this novel has everything you want in a riveting mystery: a brutal crime, fast-paced action, expertly drawn characters that thrust the story from the page, and a jaw-dropping ending that you won’t see coming. Looking for a new favorite hero to root for? You’ve found him in Moehling’s Ben Packard."

—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Overnight Guest

"When a diabolically wealthy family pits themselves against each other, it's hard to know who to believe, unless you’re Deputy Benjamin Packard. Josh Moehling lays out a deliciously complex plot and turns sleepy Sandy Lake into anything but."

— John McMahon, author of The Good Detective

"Observant and authentic (and funny, too), Where the Dead Sleep is a perfect mystery, the literary descendant of Fargo and Mare of Easttown and an exploration of all the nooks and shadows that make Sandy Lake, MN an ideal place to spend a summer and a chilling place to pass a winter. I’d highly recommend it to every fan of crime fiction, but especially those reading in a lake house just after sunset."

― Adam White, bestselling author of The Midcoast

"Where the Dead Sleep is a beautifully written mystery that had me on the edge of my seat. Joshua Moehling has created unforgettable characters in a story that kept me guessing the whole way through. Where the Dead Sleep is not to be missed."

― RJ Jacobs, author of This is How We End Things

Now in Paperback

Ben Packard #1


"This book isn't just unputdownable, it's the definition of the word."

—Samantha Downing, international bestselling author of For Your Own Good

"And There He Kept Her exploits the rich terrain of a small town where an overactive grapevine thrives and seemingly everyone conceals a secret."

—Mystery Scene Magazine?

They thought he was a helpless old man. They were wrong.

When two teenagers break into a house on a remote lake in search of prescription drugs, what starts as a simple burglary turns into a nightmare for all involved. Emmett Burr has secrets he's been keeping in his basement for more than two decades, and he'll do anything to keep his past from being revealed. As he gets the upper hand on his tormentors, the lines blur between victim, abuser, and protector.

Personal tragedy has sent former police officer Ben Packard back to the small Minnesota town of Sandy Lake in search of a fresh start. Now a sheriff's deputy, Packard is leading the investigation into the missing teens, motivated by a family connection. As clues dry up and time runs out to save them, Packard is forced to reveal his own secrets and dig deep to uncover the dark past of the place he now calls home.

Unrelentingly suspenseful and written with a piercing gaze into the dark depths of the human soul, And There He Kept Her is a thrilling page-turner that introduces readers to a complicated new hero and forces us to consider the true nature of evil. READ MORE


Behind the scenes of the book and the author!







bottom of page