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Things In Ditches

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A murder mystery novel. The story of Phillip "Dutch" Cleland, a man with a hidden past and a future about to explode in his face. A seemingly average man whose love for two women drives him to such extremes that deception, even murder and suicide are not longer unthinkable.

When a lovely corpse is discovered near Dutch's home town, the nearby ditches begin to yield a harv

Published December 1st 2000 by North Star Press of St. Cloud
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  70 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
THINGS IN DITCHES by Jimmy Olsen is a murder mystery that had me savoring every quirky and eccentric small town character, feeling the cold of a Minnesota blizzard and sympathizing with the murder suspect. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Olsen’s writing style and the surprising twist at the end.

Philip “Dutch” Cleland is Willow River’s butcher and self-confessed murderer of the beautiful and naked corpse found in a ditch. Turn himself in, commit suicide or flee? I loved reading his decision
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Book – Things in Ditches
Author – Jimmy Olsen
Publication Date – Not listed
Type – Stand Alone
Genre – Romance, Suspense
Rating – 4 out of 5 Stars

I was pleasantly surprised; I liked this book as much as I did….that is once I got past the first 20-30%.  See, in the beginning, I was confused – the author threw out so many names that I kept getting confused on who was who and how they fit in the story…but he did such a fantastic job of describing little idiosyncrasies of each character that it wasn’t long before I felt right at home!

Book – Things in Ditches
Author – Jimmy Olsen
Publication Date – Not listed
Type – Stand Alone
Genre – Romance, Suspense
Rating – 4 out of 5 Stars

I was pleasantly surprised; I liked this book as much as I did….that is once I got past the first 20-30%.  See, in the beginning, I was confused – the author threw out so many names that I kept getting confused on who was who and how they fit in the story…but he did such a fantastic job of describing little idiosyncrasies of each character that it wasn’t long before I felt right at home!

I loved how the author took us on a fantastic journey while continuing to put little humorous parts in to keep the murder mystery light and enjoyable.

This is a story of Dutch who is suspected of murdering his “mistress” from the past.  This murder starts the domino effect around the town.  We flip-flop from the present to the past to explain the connection between the murdered woman and Dutch.

Between Dutch trying to run away to safety, the town cop, Dutch’s wife and his friend, the lawyer, we are taken through a roller coaster ride of “who-dunit”. 

But it’s the ending that really grabs you and at that moment, you will be slapping yourself on the forehead, never expecting the solution!

Wrap Up
This is a surprising and pleasing murder mystery book with a hint of romance and humor thrown in. I loved how small this town was and how the author incorporated a mix of different personalities to tie the story all in together.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Can a murder mystery novel be funny? Maybe quirky is a better word. I know I found Things in Ditches by Jimmy Olsen extremely entertaining, if nothing else! I can’t even call the murderer evil, strange, misguided, unfaithful, cheating rat, yes, but evil? Not so much. Vicky Johnson was a beautiful murder victim. Her killer tells of his attraction to her, his love for her, she made him crazy, he called it a love tumor, said she made him feel “more.” Did I mention that Dutch Cleland was a married man and ...more
Liz Terek
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
‘Things in Ditches’: Jimmy Olsen
A body has been found in the woods. There’s been a murder in Willow River. Normally, most towns are accustomed to this sort of tragedy. Willow River, however, has never had more than a misdemeanor hiccup or two. Now, as a blizzard prepares to bear down on them, the townsfolk need their serenity back. We see the bits & pieces of the entire event unfold almost as if we, the readers, are a part of their community.
Each character is indispensable to the ma
Tiffany Oharriz
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“I received a free copy of the book from the author for my honest opinion. I was in no way compensated for this review and all opinions are expressly my own”

One of my favorite shows this last summer was a show called “Motive”. I am not exactly sure what it was about the show that drew me in but something did and this book was no different.

Just like the show, you are given the names/face of the killer and his/her victim with in the first 30 seconds, what you are lacking is the motive. S
Leona Woolfolk
Disclaimer: Originally reviewed at Crafting By The Pound, https://craftingbythepoundblog.wordpr...

I received a copy of this book for free from the Author in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

What did I just read?! Things In Ditches by Jimmy Olsen was such a mind cluster that I really can’t seem to formulate words to describe everything I loved about its story and characters. Whatever I do say past this paragraph the one thing that was consistent was its timeless mystery and superb writing.

My g
Valerie Caraotta
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This cleverly written murder mystery by Jimmy Olsen will test your endurance on long investigative navigation in an attempt to capture Phillip "Dutch"Cleland believed to be guilty of murdering his former lover. The infamous question of why would someone murder a lover of long ago may never truly get answered but neither too may many things fail to find concrete finality in a town laden with deception.

As mentally challenged Walleye discovers Vicky dead in a ditch the attempts at justi
SharaLee Podolecki
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was the lovely book sent to me to review by the ever-obliging Jimmy Olsen. AND I LOVED IT.

I did not expect Things in Ditches by Jimmy Olsen to be as good as it was. A murder mystery set in a small town in Minnesota? What could be interesting about that? Plenty, it turns out. Having lived in small towns most of my life, I was pleasantly surprised by the true-to-life foibles and quirks of the characters of Willow River, Minnesota, who seemed as though they could step out of the pa
Lucero De la tierra
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults 18+
Recommended to Lucero by: Jimmy Olsen
Shelves: mystery
Though I love to read for instruction ever since childhood I've found it difficult to get into reading for entertainment. As a child my mind would wander too much to find reading fiction enjoyable. Now that I'm older and more able to focus I'm getting into reading just for "fun".

Things In Ditches is very much a book for adults. There's murder, adultery, passion, betrayal and other things that you probably wouldn't want your teen or pre-teen to be reading about. The story put me very much in the
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
Things in Ditches is murder mystery that leaves you shaking your head, swearing at the book, and eager to continue reading because you got to know what happens next. I've always like mystery books yet adding murder to it makes the book something incredibly heart pounding thrill reading this book. What I loved most about this book was it kept you guessing until the very end. The ending of the book blew me away with shock and awe at the dastardly deed. I'll be honest the killer is pure slime from ...more
Lynne Cosmano
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
MN setting was fun but some really brutal characters and some could have been developed a bit more...really didn't understand or like some of the relationships amongst the authorities. Not a sympathetic main character either
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was really ready to hate the ending, but Olsen keeps you guessing until the very last page. Even after, really. With a cast of characters that every Minnesotan knows, and everyone else can love, this book is a thrilling read. I had a hard time putting it down. Bravo, 5 stars from me.
May 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
St. Cloud writer. Thought it looked interesting, but a real disappointment
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Things in Ditches: Jimmy Olsen

Sometimes when someone gets too close to you they need to be disposed of. The story opens in a unique way with the murderer describing why he decided to kill his former lover and the method he used. While eating breakfast with his wife this sick, twisted and sad sack character discusses his plans for what he hopes will end his life. But, not everything goes as planned as this man finds out as he decides that when trying to pull the trigger and leaving a note tucked
Oh My Bookness
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is nothing better than a good murder mystery, right? The kind that leaves you on the edge of your seat, book in toe wherever you go. You never know where or how you might discover the next ok, good, interesting, page turner. Where or how you find your next prompt to mystery, I do apologize I mean murder mystery novel is not my concern. Sharing with you my thoughts is. I’m not here to sway or dis-sway. Now I can only presume what may or may not be on your mind is…why? Well if your anything ...more
Lisa B.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it

 A Magnificent Author, Jimmy Olsen, presents a one of a kind Murder Mystery!

July 13, 2014

Picturesque, should be the description of the small town, Willow River. 'Noted for murder', wasn't what the Town Council wanted for their peaceful village's, welcome sign.

Author, Jimmy Olsen, has created an engrossing, one of a kind, murder mystery. This adult novel, reminds me of a snow globe on steroids. Give it a good shake, and the snow falls faster, tensi
On My Kindle BR
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: onmykindlebr
I received a free print copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

To say that Phillip "Dutch" Cleland has a lot on his plate would be an understatement. After confessing to his wife, Jean, that he had an affair with Vicky Johnson, the couple managed to salvage their marriage and things seem back to normal. However, Vicky is at the forefront of Dutch's mind when he wakes up one morning after a busy night; this is not surprising since he killed Vicky and left her body in a dit
Cathy Austin
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Things in Ditches is a debut novel by Jimmy Olsen. Sure, published in 2000 but a timeless mystery/crime/drama which, if you are partial to Fargo either the movie or current ‘hot’ series, is a perfect book to settle down with on a weekend. And, really, Things in Ditches truly reads like another season of the series. It is sooooo Fargo-esque. I started reading it one morning and could not put it down.
Okay, the plot is entirely credible in a crazy sort of way. Quickly: There’s a woman’s body
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Those of you who like murder mysteries and suspense, this will be the book for you to read! It's not a new novel, but it is certainly a fascinating one that makes you question the many facets of being guilty of a crime.

Dutch Cleland lived in a small town with his wife, Jean. Their relationship was still somewhat tumultuous even though it had been quite a while since Dutch cheated on his wife with Vicky. He fell for Vicky and she told him she loved him. Eventually, though, the hate, r
Diane Coto
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Phillip (Dutch) Cleland has more than a few problems. His wife Jean, who had endured his infidelity years ago with Vicky Johnson, now suspects he may have had something to do with her death. In the opening lines of the story, he knows he killed Vicky and left her body in a ditch. Vicky’s husband shows up to find her and takes on Dutch. In self-defense, Dutch nearly kills him too. Dutch considers killing himself but instead decides to hide out in a cabin he used years ago. But if he’s going, he n ...more
Theresa Smith
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book doesn't really seem like a mystery because after all, we know who did it. Or do we?

Dutch Cleland is from a small town called Willow River, MN. He murders the woman, Vicky, that he was having an affair with in the past. So what makes him murder her now after all this time? The whole book we are trying to figure out why he did it. How could your well educated, but down to earth upstanding citizen become a murderer?

He first contemplates suicide rather than face peo
Holly Newhouse
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Things in Ditches by Jimmy Oleson
Reviewed by Author Holly Newhouse for Eternal Book Reviews
"Vicky Johnson's killer rolled onto his right side, drew his knees up under the warm covers and cautiously peeked through the darkness at the crisp digits of the clock-radio counting his last moments on earth, death waiting patiently for him to shower and dress. The secret he thought, is not to open your eyes and let the world in.
"So begins the story of Dutch Cleland,
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
Did I enjoy this book: Mr. Olsen had a lot of good stuff in this book. I have to quote my favorite line. It was the internal thoughts of a suicidal murderer on the run, “But of course he didn’t fear prison. He feared exposure –the world seeing him for what he really was. The mask of his life removed and him there naked and small as only God knew him.”

I thought that was profound and probably more common than we think that both criminals and non-criminals fear exposure more than jail.
Katherine C
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-my-library
Being asked to write a book review is always a pleasure and a privilege. But, it can also be challenge. You want desperately to love every page and to scream out loud “well done” and tell everyone to “read it now”. In this case I am happy to say that is exactly what I recommend. After reading three of Mr. Olsen’s books; The Poison Makers, Things in Ditches and The Hero of Blind Pig Island, and other island stories, I found all of his works of fiction to be skillfully written, descriptive and oft ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book for review is ‘things in ditches: a murder mystery novel” by Jimmy Olsen. This book falls in the genre of murder, action and mystery.

Meet Charlie Benson, a small town law man, who does his job well with what little crime falls his town of Willow River. His department is small. Not much happens here. Until local resident Walleye find a body in a ditch while looking for things to collect.

It isn’t long before Charlie is in on it as well as another sheriff who is in
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Below is a preview of the review. The full review is live on The Guide to Good Books ! Make sure to check it out!

Warning! There are some spoilers!

Marlene came in carrying a candle.

"Ah, Lady Macbeth!" he sighed with great drama. "Whyfore did he kill her now after all these leagues?"

"League is a distance, dope, not a time," she said pouring hot candle wax into a puddle beside him."

Chapter 15, page 159.

Things in Ditches is written in third person past/>
Janice Spina
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-reviewed
Things in Ditches is a different kind of murder mystery. It's a fun romp with a group of quirky characters at every turn. Phillip "Dutch" Cleland is a man caught between two loves, his wife, Jean, and a cheating, multi-married and divorced woman, Vicky Johnson. Dutch tries to get life back after an on off affair with Vicky when she suddenly comes back into his life. She had left him for other men but now needed his help because her latest husband was abusing her. Dutch wants no part of Vicky and ...more
Stefan Vucak
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
In a passionate rage, Phillip ‘Dutch’ Cleland kills Vicky Murdock, a woman he had an affair with a long time ago, but he knows the law will come after him. He runs away without bothering to cover his tracks. The crime sets off an investigation by the Willow River Chief of Police, Charlie Benson. Gordon Murdock, a convicted serial rapist, comes to town looking for Vicky and her murderer, trampling on people along the way. The chase leads everybody to a snowbound log cabin deep in the woods, resul ...more
Christoph Fischer
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“Things in Ditches” by Jimmy Olsen is a well-written and accomplished murder mystery. Cleverly told in several narratives we get to see multiple perspectives and time lines to understand the murder of Vicky, found dead in a ditch, a little better. The torn feelings of the murderer and his escape form one part of the book, while the police investigation led by Police Chief Charlie Benson forms another. Both are fascinating parts of the whole construction. There are plenty of interesting things ab ...more
Ericka Greer
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
SOOOOOO GOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm going to leave the review short and sweet because I don't want to give anything away. It's a mystery :)))
I love a really good mystery and sometimes they are hard to come by but Things in Ditches was just that. It was humorous and a page turner. This murder mystery takes place in a small town in Minnesota. is a story of Dutch who is the suspect that killed Vicky who was found dead in a ditch. Throughout the story we are told of Vicky's life and how she e
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