Ted Wood was born on the 22nd of April, 1931, in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England, in the United Kingdom. Ted is a very capable English author known primarily for his superb Reid Bennet series.
Ted was born and raised in England, and he also studied the majority of his life there. Between the years 1949 and 1953, Wood took part in the Royal Air Force. Wanting a change of the scenery,
Wood immigrated to Canada, in 1954, becoming a police officer in the city of Toronto until the year of 1957. Until 1974, Wood worked a few jobs, namely for numerous advertising studios, writing plays for theatre and radio, article writing, news for magazines, writing for television, and the like.
In 1983, though, his famous Reid Bennett series had its start with the first novel being released that year.
The final novel that Wood would publish was in 1995. In 1999, Wood was the recipient of the Derrick- Murdoch Prize for his writing career. As such, we can take a look at the best Ted Wood books.
The Reid Bennett Book Series
Wood’s most beloved and famous series, the Reid Bennett Series, is also quite a long one. Spanning a sizeable ten books, the series is brimming with all of the thriller and action-packed elements that Wood is known for. The books that comprise the series are the following, by date of publication:
- Murder on Ice, published in 1979.
- Live Bait, published in 1979.
- Dead in the Water, published in 1983.
- Snowjob, published in 1986.
- Fool’s Gold, published in 1986.
- Corkscrew, published in 1987.
- When the Killing Starts, published in 1989.
- On the Inside, published in 1990.
- Flashback, published in 1992.
- A Clean Kill, published in 1995.
Dead in the Water is, based upon the books’ own chronology, the first book.
We meet the protagonist, Chief of Police Reid Bennet. Reid isn’t the Chief of Police of a larger city or state, but for Murphy’s Harbor which is situated in the Muskoka cottage country. In fact, Reid is pretty much the whole police force for the region, barring the irregular help he gets.
Reid used to be in the military and, more remorsefully, in the Toronto police force, but a misfortune brought Reid to the rural spaces of the Muskoka. Unlike Toronto – though it’s a measly 200-mile drive –, Murphy’s Harbor is a small resort town where nothing substantial occurs most of the time.
The worst that does end up happening has to deal with the intoxicated tourists, residents, and the occasional offender. Of course, there wander those people that poke at the scars of Bennett.
The reason for Bennett’s self-imposed exile from the beautiful city of Toronto is the following: he happened to be witness to an attempted gangrape and a brutal assault upon a woman. Not being the idle type, but more so the impulsive kind, Bennett got into a conflict with the assailants.
The confrontation ended with the deaths of the two perpetrators. Even though Reid was exonerated from any and all charges as per the court, the public eye was an unkind one. Constantly harassed and pointed at, Reid took the disgrace to his heart and decided to leave, though word does inevitably get around.
The first book sees Bennett coming to terms with his history, though he is by no means ashamed of what he did. After all, it involved the saving of an innocent life. Though it is less than two-hundred pages long, the book is packed with violence, NY thugs, damsels in distress, and the character growth of Reid.
If we had to pick just one book, then Dead in the Water would probably be our number one choice for the best Ted Wood books.
The second book, chronologically, is Murder on Ice. Murphy’s Harbor is very much known for the summer tourists it gets. When a businessman creates an event centered around the winter, things are obviously askew a bit.
The second annual event nears, though it’s Bennett’s very first as he hasn’t been here that long. A certain Nancy Carmichael is crowned as the carnival’s queen, though in a few scarce seconds after the crowning, the lights are gone. When they come back on, Nancy is nowhere to be found as the frosty night has gobbled her up.
Dealing with kidnappers in the exceedingly cold conditions is hard enough, but a heavy snowstorm makes it damn near impossible. The only inkling of hope that Bennett can, along with his dog Sam, hold onto is the trail left in the snow.
The sad or misfortunate part is that the trail disappears a little more for each little second that passes. The investigation leads to more questions than answers, but Reid is unflinching still.
Reid doesn’t always stay in Murphy’s Harbor, though. For instance, in Snowjob, he takes a trip to Chambers, Vermont at the request of his old friend. This old friend, Doug Ford, is accused of the murder of a girl named Cindy.
Reid knows best how it is to be accused of something wrongly, and he works diligently to help his friend out and have the swift hand of justice come down upon the true culprit.
Wood utilized a pseudonym, too, during his full-time writing days, publishing three novels under the name Jack Barnao. The novels featured an ex-SAS British member who has, as of recently, ventured into the bodyguard waters and working for the Canadian police force. The three novels belong to the John Locke series. They are – Hammerlocke, Lockestep, and Timelocke.