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Dead Water (Benjamin January #8)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  482 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Nineteenth-century New Orleans is a blazing hotbed of scorching politics and personal vendettas. And it's into this fire that Benjamin January falls when he is hired to follow Oliver Weems, a bank official who has absconded with $100,000 in gold and securities. But it's more than just a job for January. The missing money is vital to the survival of the school for freed sla ...more
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Published August 3rd 2004 by Bantam (first published 2004)
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3.5 stars. A good entry in this captivating historical mystery series. Benjamin and Rose are on a steamboat headed up the Mississippi River investigating a theft at first, then later the requisite murder. This is one of those nice little murder mysteries in a contained environment, with a handy map of the riverboat included.

As you'd expect with Hambly, there are interesting details about river travel in the 1830's. During this off-season trip on a low river, the boat is taking passengers and car
Have there really been 8 of these? I love this character and the historical setting of New Orleans and its odd race relations. I haven't read any of her fantasy. I wonder if I would like it as well.
Benjamin January and his charming wife Rose are in trouble: the bank they entrusted their savings to has been robbed, leaving them and the other investors penniless. But the president of the bank has made Benjamin an offer he can't refuse: the opportunity to hunt down the thief and recover the gold before anyone is the wiser. So Benjamin and Rose, with their opium-addicted friend Hannibal Sefton, hop on a steamboat headed upriver along with the suspect and a host of other unusual characters. But ...more
Elizabeth K.
This is the most recent in Hambly series of historical mysteries featuring a free black guy in New Orleans in the early 19th century. I enjoy the books a lot, but we're at the point where the series is being stretched a little thin. Oh, and this book features something that makes my Top Ten Annoying Things That Can Happen in Novels list. There's one recurring character who is living among the dregs of society in New Orleans, but who originally came from an upper class background back in Europe. ...more
Tara Hall
I have enjoyed Hambly’s books since reading her vampire work Those that Hunt the Night years ago, and picked this up because I enjoy Civil War period books. I was not disappointed. This book kept my attention from the very first page. The cast of characters was so well drawn they seemed like real people, and the book more of play I was watching than a novel, because I could imagine it so effortlessly.

I was unsure at first if I was going to identify with January as a protagonist, having never rea
Much improved over Days of the Dead. Thank goodness that side trip to Mexico is over and we can get back to concentrating on Benjamin and Rose. This time out the couple, with their fiddler friend Hannibal(much less annoying here than in Days of The Dead), board a steamboat in search of an embezzler. Much like an Agatha Christie novel, many characters are introduced, all whom seem to have secrets to keep. The fun is trying to figure out which secrets pertain to the embezzled cash and a related mu ...more
Shirley Holm
I just love to be transported back to 1830s New Orleans. Wish Barbara Hambly would write more Benjamin January novels. I believe I have now read them all. Love the characters, the setting and the historical perspective.
A good mystery series. First half of the 1800's in New Orleans and surrounding area. A very clear picture of society, slavery, and the POV of free blacks at that time.
I'm just having a hard time feeling very sorry for Benjamin right now. He gets good fortune, then sticks around New Orleans, the place he should and does fear to live. It's like listening to someone complain that the river they are dangling their feet in has alligators.
I really enjoyed this book, as well as all the others I've read in this series. Ms. Hambly does a very good job of depicting the dilemmas faced by free blacks in that period. The plot is interesting and the resolution interesting and surprising.

Hambly finally cannot resist the temptation to have her main character rub elbows with a major historical figure. She even has January save the person’s life, ensuring history will plod on as written, rather than taking any sort of dramatic left turn.

It’s an exciting riverboat adventure involving stolen gold (and lots of it), river pirates, the Underground Railroad, slave stealers, and even a dueling match, but I wasn’t quite as sucked in as I was with earlier adventures – for some reason this c
Another excellent book by Barbara Hamley
M Reads
Ben, his wife, and a friend are asked to travel aboard a riverboat up the Mississippi river to uncover the location of stolen gold. Complications arise due to African magic, the slave trade, and the twists the story takes as the trio attempt to solve the mystery. Set in a period before the Civil War I think that this would have been an even better read if it had included more historical detail and context.
Ben January is hard on the heels of the man who stole the funds from the free blacks of New Orleans. The money included not only his personal savings, but also the funds which were earmarked to start a school for the free black people of the area.

This hard hitting series deals with racism, personal vendettas and greed in a realistic but sometimes uncomfortable way.

Highly recommended.
Another Benjamin January book.. gotta love a little pre-Civil War New Orleans. There are a lot of characters and things do get a little confusing at times, but I just love this series. I think I have only one more and then I am done. I really loved the first one A Free Man of Color. I was fascinated by the whole New Orleans free black creole society.
I always think of this author's books as keepers. This is no exception. The historical aspects are fascinating. Benjamin January is an attractive character. When I read about him it is like visiting an old friend. This book seemed a little more simplistic than her others, but the riverboat details were terrific, and the ending was pleasing.
Rebecca Huston
A case involving stolen gold, a voodooienne's curse, steamboats, and southern belles, with Benjamin and Rose in real trouble. Another excellent entry in the series, and one that kept me up all night reading. Recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:
This series is back on track after a slight slump. The return to the Mississippi recaptures the tone of the series. Set almost entirely on a steamboat, this mystery does a great job of showing you the gun at the beginning and then using it at the end. So to speak. This is certainly one of my favorite series of mysteries of all time.
Yay, more Benjamin January! (I thought I'd read all of the ones published, then I found out there were more.) This book did not disappoint; I devoured it over a lazy Sunday afternoon. More Rose, more Hannibal, with some bank collapse thrown in. It was published before the current bank collapse, but it was nice to see evil-doers pay.
I enjoy Hambly's series, and this addition is an engaging and enjoyable one. It includes the characters we have grown to love -- Benjamin, Rose, and Hannibal -- and the setting of a river boat on the Mississippi is a nice shift from the New Orleans level of intrigue.
Excellent Historical Mystery. Set in 1830's New Orleans. Very vivid descriptions of the time, its people and way of life. Ms. Hambly capture how terrifying it was to be a freeman of color with slave dealers running around. Good mystery not easy to figure out.
As always with this series ... an entertaining and enjoyable read, and not just because N'Awlins is probably one of my most favorite places to be :) If you have never read any of Hambly's books in this series you are missing a special treat for sure.
I enjoyed it, and you'd never know it was book 8. If she referred to past books she was very subtle because I didn't notice and blatant "as you might recall from the case of the missing ruby..." type phrases were not present. Yay!
It's a typical Benjamin January mystery, which means it's a really good book. Hambly is one of my favorite writers because she's terrific about coming up with atypical protagonists and sucking you into their world.
I really gave my Kindle dictionary a workout with this one. Barbara Hambly writes exquisitely, using the vernacular of the time. I learned a lot about paddle boating up the Mississippi in the early 1800s.
excellent Ben January
Lisa marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2015
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...

Other Books in the Series

Benjamin January (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January, #1)
  • Fever Season (Benjamin January, #2)
  • Graveyard Dust (Benjamin January, #3)
  • Sold Down the River (Benjamin January, #4)
  • Die Upon a Kiss (Benjamin January, #5)
  • Wet Grave (Benjamin January, #6)
  • Days of the Dead (Benjamin January, #7)
  • Dead and Buried (Benjamin January, #9)
  • The Shirt on His Back (Benjamin January, #10)
  • Ran Away (Benjamin January, #11)
Children of the Jedi (Star Wars) Dragonsbane (Winterlands #1) The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1) Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, #1) The Armies of Daylight (Darwath, #3)

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