Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to feature Victoria Houston’s Wolf Hollow today!
Wolf Hollow (A Lew Ferris Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/Women Sleuths
1st Book in the Series with this Publisher
Setting – Wisconsin
Crooked Lane Books (January 11, 2022)
Hardcover : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643858009
ISBN-13 : 978-1643858005
Kindle ASIN : B0928652Q3
Murder stalks the Wisconsin Northwoods in a gripping novel from the author of the acclaimed Loon Lake mysteries.
It’s mid-May in the tiny Northwoods Wisconsin town of Loon Lake, and the fish are biting. Walleye’s not the only thing on the hook. There are rumors that a precious vein of nickel and copper is buried on the property of wealthy Grace McDonough, and the drilling is about to begin. But not if environmentalist Pete Ferris can help it.
When Grace’s 24-year-old son, Noah, is caught in a sordid sex crime, police chief Lew Ferris makes the arrest. But a day later, Lew is stricken when her brother Pete turns up dead, a bloody pry bar found in the woods nearby. Then, Grace’s body is discovered in a car at the bottom of a river–and Noah has vanished. Lew puts out a statewide APB, but before long, Noah is also found murdered on the McDonough property.
It’s beginning to look like mother and son were killed by the same person. And when Lew learns that her brother had planned to file a lawsuit to prevent drilling for the sulfide mine, a key piece of the puzzle suddenly falls into place.
Lew is beginning to close in on the truth. But has the killer set his bait again, angling for his biggest catch yet?
Wolf Hollow has bodies dropping like flies!
While she would rather be fishing her job is keeping her darn busy. First, she has to arrest Noah McDonough for a scheme to kidnap a minor. Then she learns his mother Grace, is about to sign a huge deal to mine the nickel and copper buried on her land. Lew’s brother Pete is part of a group trying to stop the entire thing in its tracks. But then Pete is found dead and Lew calls in the “Wausau boys” to help find the killer. Then they find Grace’s SUV at the bottom of the river with her dead body inside. Noah is nowhere to be found at first but then his body is found by some kids in the woods. All the deaths have to be connected and Lew leans heavily on the crew from Wausau, Doc, and Ray as she tries to piece all the clues together but the killer has another target on his list . . . Lew!
I am so happy this series has found a new home at Crooked Lane Books. It has been a favorite series of mine since the beginning but don’t worry the author gives plenty of background so new readers will be able to read and enjoy and old fans will love it too.
Ms. Houston has created a group of very down-to-earth characters. They take their jobs seriously but know sometimes it takes putting on your waders, getting in some water with your fly reel in your hands to think through the clues until they all fall into place. In this story, another woman joins the group and she wants to learn to flyfish too. She is welcomed with open arms and Lew is happy to teach her. Her exploits delivered a few good chuckles. This being a long-running series the characters feel like old friends. They are genuine, strong, smart, kind, and each quirky in their own way but Ray is the signature odd duck and one of my favorites.
There are a lot of lines to untangle in this well-plotted mystery. The story starts with an attempted citizen’s arrest of a probable sexual predator by some unexpected characters and then spins out of control as bodies start to pile up. It was very interesting to watch the investigation pan out. The characters have worked a lot of cases together and each has their strengths. The whole story unfolds at a very comfortable pace with drama and suspense in all the right places.
The series is set on Loon Lake in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The author is very familiar with the area and she describes each place so well. I felt like I was right there for each scene. Mentions of real places also drew me into the story. Ms. Houston also imparts her knowledge of fly fishing throughout the story. My grandfather was a fisherman and I always picture him there on loon lake casting his rod. I am sure there are some great lakes and streams in heaven where he is now casting his line.
While fly fishing is the main theme of this series you need to fish to enjoy this book/series. They are truly stories about family and relationships and coming together to find justice for the victims. I love that a woman is in charge and her influence and knowledge may expand farther than the reaches of Loon Lake in future installments. She did put her job first and I don’t think she has really experienced the grief of losing her brother yet, but I was so happy with the farewell she put together to honor him when the case was put to bed.
Wolf Hollow took me back to Loon Lake in all its beauty to visit the characters I have come to love over the years. I am excited to see this series continue especially now that Lew is taking a leap. I can’t wait to see how she lands.
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About the Author
Victoria Houston is the author of the Loon Lake mysteries as well as several nonfiction books on family issues. She has been featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and on NPR. She lives, writes, and fishes in northern Wisconsin.
Check out The Loon Lake Mysteries
to see how these characters started out.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”