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Catalog Archive / Spring 2014 Catalog

Death Stalks Door County

The first book in the Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery Series
Terrace Books

Finalist, Traditional Fiction Book of the Year, Chicago Writers Association

Introducing the Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries: smart, hard-edged detective fiction on a popular vacation peninsula, a scenic wonderland surrounded by the pristine waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan

Six deaths mar the holiday mood as summer vacationers enjoy Wisconsin’s beautiful Door County peninsula. Murders, or bizarre accidents? Newly hired park ranger Dave Cubiak, a former Chicago homicide detective, assumes the worst but refuses to get involved. Grief-stricken and guilt-ridden over the loss of his wife and daughter, he’s had enough of death.

Forced to confront the past, the morose Cubiak moves beyond his own heartache and starts investigating, even as a popular festival draws more people into possible danger. In a desperate search for clues, Cubiak uncovers a tangled web of greed, betrayal, bitter rivalries, and lost love beneath the peninsula’s travel-brochure veneer. Befriended by several locals but unsure whom to trust or to suspect of murder, the one-time cop tracks a clever killer.

In a setting of stunning natural beauty and picturesque waterfront villages, Death Stalks Door County introduces a new detective series, “The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries.”


Patricia Skalka. Photo credit, B. E. Pinkham.Patricia Skalka is the author of Death at Gills Rock, the second book in the Dave Cubiak series. A former writer for Reader’s Digest, she presents writing workshops throughout the United States. She divides her time between her native Chicago and her cottage in Door County, Wisconsin.

Author website:




“Can a big-city cop solve a series of murders whose only witnesses may be the hemlocks? An atmospheric debut.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Murder seems unseemly in Door County, a peninsula covered in forests, lined by beaches, and filled with summer cabins and tourist resorts. That’s the hook for murder-thriller Death Stalks Door County, the first in a series involving ranger Dave Cubiak, a former Chicago homicide detective.”
Milwaukee Shepherd Express

“A satisfyingly complex plot . . . showcasing one of the main characters, Wisconsin’s beautiful Door County. A great match for Nevada Barr fans.”
Library Journal

“Skalka’s descriptions of the atmosphere of the villages and spectacular scenery will resonate with readers who have spent time on the Door Peninsula. . . . [She] plans to continue disturbing the peace in Door County for quite a while, which should be a good thing for readers.”
Chicago Book Review

“The characters are well drawn, the dialogue realistic, and the puzzle is a difficult one to solve, with suspicion continually shifting as more evidence is uncovered.”
Mystery Scene Magazine

“A terrific mystery that captures both the beauty and wildness of this wonderful peninsula.”
—Mary Logue, author of the Claire Watkins Mystery series

“Who would have guessed that so many dark secrets and sinister deeds lurk beneath the surface of Door County’s idyllic communities? Skalka weaves a fascinating tale that lures the reader into an intriguing mystery as her appealingly flawed protagonist, Dave Cubiak, unravels the threads that link a series of apparently unconnected deaths. A very satisfying read, and the arrival of a fresh, talented voice.”
—Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River

“Lean, eloquent prose . . . an intricate web of deceit and revenge.”
—John Smolens, author of Cold and Quarantine

“A mesmerizing mystery, bucolic setting, bodies dropping everywhere, plenty of prime suspects and in Dave Cubiak, a man with a tragic past, the right guy to solve it.”
—Charles Salzberg, author of Shamus Award–nominated Swann’s Last Song and Devil in the Hole

“A first-rate thriller with a strong noir mood. Skalka has created a strong sense of place, colorful characters, a scarred but likable hero, and a pace that sprints along.”
—Michael Norman, author of Haunted Wisconsin

“A story of secrets, revenge, and betrayal interwoven with environmental concerns and small-town customs. Narrator Adam Prugh captures the brooding atmosphere of the novel and provides an especially poignant rendition of Cubiak’s grief. . . . [A] haunting mystery, deeply rooted in the wilderness of Door County.”
Library Journal, praise for the audiobook




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Additional Resources

Click here to watch a public tv interview with Patricia Skalka

Click here to read review "Trouble in Paradise", Chicago Book Review




Of Related Interest

Death at Gills Rock

Death at Gills Rock
A Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery
Patricia Skalka

A Winsome Murder

A Winsome Murder
James DeVita

Death Stalks Door County

March 2016
LC: 2013033800 PS
256 pp. 5.5 x 8.25
1 map

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Cloth $26.95
ISBN 9780299299408
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Paper $16.95
ISBN 9780299299446
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The Terrace Books logo is designed in the shape of a book with a Union chair in silhouette on the cover. The words Terrace Books, Madison, Wisconsin appear also.