Murder never takes a holiday...or so Loon Lake learns one wintry Thanksgiving Day.
Chief of Police Lew Ferris, short-handed thanks to an AWOL coroner, never even gets the turkey stuffed before the bodies start to surface. By the end of the day, credit card theft and dysfunctional families have so muddied the waters that not even expert tracker and dedicated fishing guide Ray Pradt can hope to fish the final day of muskie season. And while retired dentist Doc Osborne had counted on sitting by the fire with Lew (out of uniform) and planning a fly-fishing trip to Wyoming, the unexpected arrival of Gina Palmer, former investigative reporter turned forensics database expert, ramps up the action with her pursuit of a Canadian link to the theft of merchandise from stores across the upper Midwest. Dead Hot Shot, ninth in the Loon Lake Mystery series, is a heady mix of murder, mayhem, and fishing in the northwoods of Wisconsin.
The body of a cranky heiress kick-starts Houston's uneven ninth installment in her backwoods Wisconsin series featuring spunky police chief Lewellyn "Lew" Ferris (after 2007's Dead Madonna). Along with Paul Osborne, a retired town dentist and deputy coroner, Lew investigates the murder of Nolan Reece, whose battered body washes ashore one Thanksgiving morning. Shorthanded, Lew and her on-again off-again beau enlist the help of Ray Pradt, a skilled local tracker-poacher with the ears of a wolf, to unravel the tangled motives surrounding the death of the universally unpopular Nolan. Houston often overloads her characters with familiar backstories (both Paul and Ray are recovering alcoholics) and infuses her subplots with predictable red herrings, such as the angst of Nolan's teenage daughter, Blue. Still, series fans will appreciate Loon Lake's starring role, with its local color and murderous urges lurking just beneath the placid waters.