Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dover Beach (The Last P.I., #1)” as Want to Read:
Dover Beach (The Last P.I., #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dover Beach

(The Last P.I. #1)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  40 reviews
In an America broken by a "limited" nuclear war, no one has use for would-be private eye Wally Sands. No one except for Dr. Charles Winfield, an eccentric scientist who believes he was cloned from a prominent biochemist as part of a top-secret project undertaken before the war.

Sands sets out to find Winfield's mysterious progenitor, but finds himself on the trail of a kill
Mass Market Paperback, 265 pages
Published September 1st 1987 by Spectra
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dover Beach, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dover Beach

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  218 ratings  ·  40 reviews

More filters
Sort order
What an original story! A novel twist on the P.I. trope with elements of post-apocalypse ro spice up the pages. As is true for most mysteries, the plot thickens bit by bit until it has no choice but to explode. This one was like the finale in a fireworks show. Once the reveals started popping, we got more and more and more until the whole plot was illuminated with surprising reveals.

A great and original mystery/detective story.

"I received a copy of this book from eBook Discovery in exchange for
Brian White
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
There were enough surprises to keep you interested but the plot was logical enough to keep you thinking you could figure things out. The characters were complex and the descriptions of post-apocolypse Boston compelling. Also, raised some interesting questions about what happens when science goes too far.
Michael Tankersley
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A nice clean read with enough action and mystery to move it along. I enjoyed reading this book and hope the author keeps them coming.
Dennis Green
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
set in an America bombed pretty much back to the Stone Age by a nuclear war, Dover Beach is both sci fi and PI, a great mystery tale.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Controversial New Cloning Technique Defended."

Massachusetts author Richard Bowker has published eleven novels in the genres of science fiction, mysteries and thrillers. He also is a humanist and a pianist and one of the more clever bloggers on his own webpage, offering insights into the arts as well as to the political clime. Richard describes DOVER BEACH as a private-eye novel set after a limited nuclear war, in which the would-be private eye tracks down a killer while learning something abou
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
There was a definite tone of dark hopelessness as I got deeper into the story. I could see how the characters were struggling in this dystopian world. I was very curious about Walter's first case as a private eye and how he was going to go about trying to solve the mystery with his limited resources. I was very intrigued by the world they were living in and how it would effect any investigating that he had to do. Things moved along steadily, with Walter putting together some clues here and there ...more
Shanell Meek
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting and kind of a different kind of PI story

This is kind of an interesting mix of PI novel mixed with post-apocalyptic disaster. The story follows Wally Sands who is a survivor of the war and aftermath. As things slowly come back to life Wally decides to take his special talents and use them as a PI to help people reunite with loved ones after the war. No one really is interested in his services, at first but soon he finds himself traveling across the sea to find his first missing
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting combination of a post-apocalypse novel and a murder mystery. I enjoyed the world-building, and the characters are interesting and complex. Wally Sands is an engaging character with a believable amount of youthful innocence, taking his cues as a private investigator from film noir classics and mystery novels. While I did realize who was doing what a little ahead of Wally, this was a really good read, and I look forward to reading more in the series.
Katherine Hebert
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good PI story with a twist

Dover Beach is the story of a PI searching the mysterious birth of a doctor; the doctor thinks he’s cloned! It is definitely an interesting twist to a story. I’m not usually one for paranormal elements in novels but this is more of an investigative story than a paranormal one. I definitely thought the investigative side was well thought out and kept me guessing along with it. It was well written with very well fleshed out characters.
Paul Jarzabek
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really fun read. A great detective and post limited nuclear war story. Set in Boston and England.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Great combination of dystopian/sci-fi/mystery story with a hint of old-fashioned detective film noir. Good book, very compelling. Looking forward to the next one in the series.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was a bore for me.
Jay Phillippi
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
A "limited" nuclear war has reduced the United States to a post-apocalyptic backwater nation. Society is still sorting itself out with both good and bad affect. In the midst of this Wally Sands is trying to be a private investigator. At the moment it doesn't seem like the world needs one. Until a wealthy scientist walks through his door looking for help in tracking down a mysterious father. The scientist believes that he is the result of sophisticated experiments before the war and is looking fo ...more
Eliza Lagonia
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I actually finished this a couple weeks ago, but I haven't been able to get on to update everything.
The book was very good. The mystory was better than "No Stone Left Unturned"(the second book I read this year) and it made me want to read the serise.
The bulk of the action takes place in Boston after world war 3 which ended with almost everyone setting of nukes. From what I gathered the north east in America got the worst hit and the south got little or no damage, but did suffer the ill effects
Chris Branch
A compelling concept and well planned story, and I was impressed with the way things played out, especially at the end, when loose ends I hadn't even noticed were loose were being tied up.

The style, though, was a little strange for me. The somewhat grim tone reminded me of Emma Bull's Bone Dance (for the post-apocalyptic content) and also of Ken MacLeod's The Night Sessions (for the blending of SF and investigative genres).

The protagonist's choppy, resigned observations are the clichéd first per
Debbie Elholm
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-mystery

Sci-fi and Mystery combined!
I received a copy of this book from eBook Discovery in exchange for my honest opinion. Walter Sands, P.I. was born a month after the fall of bombs in Maine. He ends up in a broken and shattered Boston, where some people are trying to make things better. But with the book burnings of the public libraries, plus the destruction of MIT and Cambridge, it's hard to do. Walter decides to open a detective agency and his first case walks in claiming he is a clone looking for
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a freebie but a good one. A guy in a bleak post-holocaust Boston decides to become a PI because he has read a ton of Hammett, Chandler, Parker and the like. He gets a case from a guy who thinks he is a clone of a missing scientist and wants to find the original. Our detective does not initially seem very good at detecting, but with a little help from his friends he gets on the trail that leads to England.

All the ingredients of a good private eye story are present: murder, buried secrets
Mercia McMahon
The book is written in the style of a pulp noir, but it is hard to define it as a detective novel. Dover Beach is better defined as a dystopian thriller about cloning that centres around a main character who is obsessed by the romance of being a private eye, but with limited talents as an investigator.

When the novel gets to the business end of the plot there are a lot of deductions from PI Wally Sands, but the reader is given no clue about the detecting process in what amounts to a whole panthe
Dawn Moriarty
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'm hooked. I got this as a Free Friday Nook download from Barnes & Noble and it's a lendable. As I was reading something else, I loaned it to my husband, who enjoyed it. I wasn't certain at first as it's pretty grim as it takes place post-nuclear war in the US, but books that are placed in New England and England do get my attention. This book has both. By the time I finished it, I decided I wanted to see what the next book was like, so I started the teaser that Nook books sometimes i ...more
I usually enjoy mysteries, yet I could not get into this one. I felt the plot development could have been stronger -- revelations involving several characters came when I no longer remembered who the characters were. This is largely because it was not a page-turner -- it took me two weeks to read. However, it did hold my attention in places, and the author clearly did his research on Boston, where most of the novel is set, unlike other writers I've read. The science fiction premise was also inte ...more
Laura Furuta
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wally Sands is a P. I. in a world that has changed. Against all odds he is hired by a man to find what he believes is his clone. The search takes them to England and a project that was shut down years ago. Will Wally find who he is seeking? Will he stay in England or return to the US? What a wonderful story! It is fast paced and has enough mystery to keep you guessing. You will empathize with the characters and as you read the book you feel their emotions and frustrations. This book will have yo ...more
Jean Brandenburg
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book, so I gave it 5 stars. Ok maybe that the author never told us what the "war" that ravaged America was about or exactly what happened, but since that wasn't a true key to the story, I guess I can over look it.
It was written in first person, Walter, is a "Private Investigator" or hopes to be and it's sort of Sam Spade-ish while making a bit of fun of himself. He gets a case and tries to solve it. I liked the writing style and that there was
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was classified somewhere as science fiction. THere has been a nuclear war, and people are short of food, etc. Walter decides to become a private eye, and is hired by a man to locate his father, a scientist, wo was responsible for cloning any number of people. It is decided that the two of them need to fly to Britain to see if they can locate the professor--which they do, but then things seem to fall apart.
Steve Bender
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I got this book from ebook discovery. Really neat combination of noir detective story and SF. Lots of references to things from the 50s and 60s. It really did read like a Humphrey Bogart movie or Raymond Chandler book. Even reminded me of Spencer, partially because it takes place in a Boston decimated by a war. Great read. Lots of fun too.
Kevin Murphy
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The first half is sluggish and clumsy. The second half is still a bit clumsy, but it ties most of the story up well and in the last 60 pages or so I was actually reluctant to put it down- that's when the actual sleuthing happens, where more of the action is.

Not that great, but a solid 3 based on how well the book ends up being after a 2-star beginning.
Karl Kastorf
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trash
If i you like Alan Furst, you will like this book and this author. Wonderful references to a great city, a manageable size cast of untrustworthy characters , a steady pace and the occasional erotic moment.
This had plenty of potential. I could not get over the language however. I was only beginning the 3rd short chapter with numerous "F" words. It totally turned me off the the entire story. I did not finish and will be deleting it from my device. I am not interested in any more from this author.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Surreal. Needs a bit more depth. Or maybe I will just need to read it again.
Doreen Dalesandro
Kindle freebie, 1/22/13
Sarah Wilson
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
I might have only given it four stars, but I think it deserves more than the three it is currently averaging. So I bumped it up to five to try and raise the score. :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Darkness Before Dawn
  • Sins of the Father
  • Everybody's Daughter
  • All He Saw Was The Girl
  • A Place Called Armageddon
  • Hybrid
  • Scavenger Hunt (A Finny Aletter Mystery, Book 1)
  • Reap the East Wind (Dread Empire, #6)
  • Winter (The Demi-Monde #1)
  • The Grave Gourmet (Capucine Culinary Mystery, #1)
  • The Crime of Julian Wells
  • Scoundrel for Hire (Velvet Lies, #1)
  • Lady Lissa's Liaison (To Woo an Heiress, #1)
  • The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World: Geography for the Lost and Found
  • Leave No Stone Unturned (Lexie Starr Mystery #1)
  • The Seduction of Lady Phoebe (The Marriage Game, #1)
  • The Seduction of Emily
  • The Lens and the Looker
See similar books…

Other books in the series

The Last P.I. (2 books)
  • The Distance Beacons (The Last P.I., #2)