Victoria Houston


Reviewed by Judy Egner of Dallas, Texas

The subtitle, A LOON LAKE FISHING MYSTERY, says much of it. Ms. Houston's previous 'DEAD' books are DEAD ANGLER and DEAD CREEK. There's a lot of fish in this tale! It's a very enjoyable read for a non-angler, but, and I can only imagine this, it would likely be irresistible to fisherfolk.

Loon Lake sounds like a place I'd love to visit - maybe even live in. This police procedural features Lew Ferris, police chief of Loon Lake, Wisconsin, a no-nonsense cop who is passionate about fly-fishing. She is admired in long suffering silence by the retired forensic dentist, Paul Osborne, whom she occasionally deputizes to help solve crimes. Happily for Paul, this is one of those occasions. Unhappily for him, he is the one who must report the first dead body, hanging from a tangle of trees over a hidden lake, having been discarded there from the train trestle above.

The shoulders of the dead body, which is that of a young local person of whom it's hard to imagine anything sinister enough to threaten her life, bear four sets of unusual bite marks. The second victim, a stranger to the town, has the same bite marks!

Lew and Paul, assisted by Ray Pradt, must tie the two crimes together to solve them. Ray, Paul's next door neighbor, is an unusual guy who likes to wear a large hat shaped like a fish. He also has a habit of doing bird calls at socially inappropriate times.

Paul is wrestling with the recent death of his unbeloved spouse as well as worries about his grown children, in addition to his unrequited, unexpressed love for Lew. He is learning fly-fishing from Lew, using this as an excuse to be with her. The two of them go out fishing almost every day at the close of the work day, using this as an excuse to talk over the crimes they are trying to solve.

Among the other fascinating characters is a pair of boys, one local, one from the big city, sent to Loon Lake to be kept out of trouble. It's questionable whether Zenner, the local boy, is the right person to actually keep Nick, the big city kid, out of trouble, or whether Zenner might instead lead Nick right into it.

A mysterious box found in the trunk of one of the murder victims seems like the clue to tie the murders together and solve them, But how? Lew, Paul and Ray must find out in order to hook the murderer and make their lovely town peaceful and safe again.

 © 2006-2009 Victoria Houston, all rights reserved.

Last updated: June 10, 2006