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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great New Mystery Catch!
This warm and friendly series which takes place in Loon Lake, Wisconsin, has so much going for it, it's hard to know where to begin. Those who love to fish, either "dancing the fly" or musky fishing, will certainly have fun reading this very good mystery with lots of Wisconsin atmosphere. While it is not necessary to be much of a fisherman to like this series, the...
Published on October 19, 2005 by Bobby Underwood

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good sense of setting
I enjoyed the writing style and the sense of place. There were several editing errors, including not going to a new paragraph for the next speaker, which made the conversations sometimes hard to follow. There was also too much cursing, although, at least, there were no sex scenes.

The characters and place were more prominent than the murder mystery. The mystery...
Published on March 20, 2012 by J. Hopkins


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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great New Mystery Catch!, October 19, 2005
By 
Bobby Underwood (Tumut NSW, Australia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
This warm and friendly series which takes place in Loon Lake, Wisconsin, has so much going for it, it's hard to know where to begin. Those who love to fish, either "dancing the fly" or musky fishing, will certainly have fun reading this very good mystery with lots of Wisconsin atmosphere. While it is not necessary to be much of a fisherman to like this series, the enthusiasm for fishing is infectious. It seems, however, to be more an expression of taking some pleasure in the living of life than anything else. It is not a gimmick and does not distract from the very good mystery, as is the case in many of the series now making the rounds. It does, in fact, add to the pleasure of reading this marvelous and fun to read book.

Loon Lake is the kind of town where the local MacDonalds isn't just a place to meet in the morning for coffee, but a clearing house for the latest Loon Lake gossip. On any given morning, it's where you can usually find retired dentist Paul Osborne, known simply as "Doc." Loon Lake is a town small enough where people usually know each other's business. It has a Cabot Cove kind of feel to it. Almost everyone who lives there is right where they want to be.

The colorful and sometimes shady Ray Pradt might be there also. He is the best fly-fisherman around, and a good friend to Doc. It is a friendship you will learn much about over the course of reading this book, and it will add depth to the mystery. There is also a real charm to Doc's feelings for the town's female sheriff, Lewellyn Ferris, known to all simply as Lew. Doc is a musky man, but takes Lew up on her offer to reacquaint him with the joys of fly fishing. When they discover the body of a woman named Meredith, Lew will deputize the Doc for his forensic skills.

The mystery is very good and the characters excellent. Doc's old friends and acquaintences, who become suspects as some tangled and twisted relationships are uncovered, are fleshed out enough to lend a little depth to this mystery. There is even a little danger and a dash of unexpected violence that, while not graphic, adds a serious dimension to the mystery portion. Someone you were sure would be a recurring character in the series will not make it. There will be a sad but exciting ending to the mystery portion of "Dead Angler." The epilog, as our friends enjoy some burgers smothered under big slabs of Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese while they discuss the past few day's events, make this series top-notch.

One of the reasons I loved this book is the atmosphere. Loon Lake, Wisconsin, has a warm and inviting feel. It's a place you'd like to visit and maybe stay a couple of weeks. You really get a sense of the rugged beauty of the woods and lakes of Wisconsin, and wish you too could smell the sweet scent of wildflowers growing in the Northwoods. If you love to fish, you'll probably long to cast on the waters of Loon Lake late one night to see what's biting.

The characters are another reason I love this book. They are likable because they seem real. By the end of this book, they'll seem like old pals you want to visit as often as you can. Doc's affection for Lew and his growing jealousy over her sometimes fishing partner, Ralph, has a real charm to it. It's a big deal when he finally gets up the courage to ask her to share in his weed beds and go musky fishing with him. There is a lot of stuff like that here and it is one of the things that separates this from others in the mystery theme genre.

You'll learn a lot about both Doc and Ray Pradt here in the first book in the series. Ray will seem a little "out there" when you first meet him in this mystery, but by the end you'll know why he's Doc's best friend. You'll also know that Doc is a real person. Author Victoria Houston has given him two grown daughters, one of whom will be in the midst of leaving a troubled marriage. Doc will understand what Mallory is going through but not have any answers. He did not have a good marriage with the mother of his two daughters, as she was really not a very nice woman.

Mallory's confusion will turn the tide on years of unknowing neglect on Doc's part, and he will begin to build a better relationship with his youngest daughter, who has been well-off but unhappy for a long time. Maybe as unhappy as Doc was before Ray pulled him out of the bottle when Mallory's mother died. He does, of course, get a little push in the right direction from his pal, Ray Pradt. Ray handles all this while helming the Loon Lake Pro-Am Walleye Open and getting his 15 minutes of fame on ESPN.

This is a terrific mystery series with great atmosphere and people who are good to know. They aren't perfect, and are easy to like for that very reason. You'll like this Northwood's cuisine a lot. It has the flavor of Ray Pradt's blue gills dipped in seasoned flour and fried to perfection. Don't miss a tasty moment!
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a catch!, September 25, 2002
By 
C. Stiles (Northern Wisconsin USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
Doc is just an ordinary guy, a retired dentist to be exact, who loves to fish. Lew is the local sheriff who needs Doc's dental knowledge to solve crimes. Together they make a great team. But what makes Victoria Houston's books delightful are the other colorful characters that inhabit Loon Lake and appear, and interfere, in the investigations. If you like blood, guts and testosterone, Victoria's books are not for you. But if you like a puzzle, strange happenings and the characters that go with it, I highly recommend "Dead Angler".
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Throw This One Back In, January 9, 2004
By 
This review is from: Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
I've had this book since it's publication in 2000. I bought it when I lived in Texas, shipped it to Vermont when I moved, and it's been on my bookshelf for nearly four years. I finally picked it up to read the other day, and could kick myself for not reading it sooner.
This is a wonderful first book. It's got a great plot with lots of twists and turns, quirky characters who are easy to like, and, of course, Loon Lake.
Unlike other first-time authors, Houston did not keep secrets from the reader. As the characters found bits and pieces of the puzzle, Houston let us in on them, too.
I'm one of those readers who like to read series in order, and I'm sorry it took me so long to read this because I know I'm going to have a hard time finding "Dead Creek" (2000) and "Dead Water (2001). Rats!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good read, April 19, 2000
This review is from: Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
Sixty-three-year-old Paul Osborne is a retired dentist who wants to learn how to fly-fish. Loon Lake (population 2654) Chief of Police Lewellyn Ferris enjoys fly-fishing at night as a stress reliever from her job. Through the machinations of mutual friends, Paul and Lewellyn go fly-fishing together. The duo enjoys their evening together until the former dentist discovers the body of a dead woman in the river. Paul recognizes the victim as Meredith Marshall, a former patient of his. He believes someone killed her because all her gold fillings were removed. The subsequent autopsy proves Paul's theory is right.

Lewellyn deputizes Paul because she believes his knowledge of the deceased and her friends, relatives, and acquaintances will prove invaluable in the investigation. Paul enjoys his new job, taking it very seriously. An added bonus to Paul is to work with Lew, a woman he is beginning to love. Lew and Paul work well together as if they have been partners for years rather than days. Soon, they find an abundance of suspects who gain financially with Meredith dead.

There are colorful and eccentric charcaters populating DEAD ANGLER with most of them involved with fishing. Readers who prefer their fish either in a restaurant or supermarket exclusively will still enjoy this delightful mystery because Victoria Houston hooks her audience from start to finish. The Great lakes make a wonderful backdrop to fine charcaters and a delightful story line. The well-plotted story line contains many viable suspects while retaining a level of believability that leave readers wondering who the killer actually is. This regional mystery has a powerfully tasty (somewhat fishy) taste to it.

Harriet Klausner
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good sense of setting, March 20, 2012
By 
J. Hopkins (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed the writing style and the sense of place. There were several editing errors, including not going to a new paragraph for the next speaker, which made the conversations sometimes hard to follow. There was also too much cursing, although, at least, there were no sex scenes.

The characters and place were more prominent than the murder mystery. The mystery held few surprises and was not at all riveting. It was rather mundane. The ending was pretty much a let-down, too. It ended too abruptly after the mystery was solved. It needed a little humor, a little romance, or something more to bring better closure--something to make the reader smile. I won't be archiving this one, and I don't plan to read more by this author.
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37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, April 27, 2014
This is a very poorly written book on many levels. It's chock full of spelling and grammatical errors. It's mind-numbingly overwritten, cliche, and poorly researched. The author hasn't done her homework about Wisconsin, fishing, dentistry, or police procedure. The characters are not believable. The genre is romance, not mystery/suspense. It was such a bad read that I would never pickup another book by this publisher. The book was not ready for release.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New author emerges as the Tony Hillerman of the North Woods, April 10, 2000
By 
Judith Cooke (Kansas City, Missouri) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
Although I am not a fisherwoman, and this book is marketed to devotees of that sport, I found this mystery to be extraordinarily enjoyable. I recommend the book unreservedly to anyone who appreciates unusual, gifted characterizations and atmospheric,elegant descriptions. The author makes the reader want to hop a plane immediately to experience first-hand the depth and presence of the North Woods,and meet the eminently likeable residents of Loon Lake. Ray Pradt, fishing guide extraordinaire, is a man of many talents and one of the quirkiest characters you'll run across. A terrific and suspenseful read. You'll be pining for the next in this series.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars i did buy the next book in the series., June 15, 2014
i bought these books for full price in paperback when they were first published. being from wisconsin with relatives 'up north' who love to fish i looked forward to the description. this was ok. story line ok. characters ok. what i did not like AT ALL was the constant bashing of the dead wife. jeez. if he hated her that much he should have divorced her or drown her in the lake up there. as most women my age know - as soon as the last shovel of dirt hits the lid - our free husbands will re-marry in a new york minute. i am surprised it has taken this character 2 years to find a love interest. perhaps the dds was no prize himself. no one there to tell what a pain in the arse he was to be married to.
if you can ignore that - you may like the scenery and characters. non are too quirky right off the bat that you say to yourself - what a hoot! for free though, read it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Satisfactory twist in story., April 27, 2014
By 
J. Harrison (Troutdale, OR United States) - See all my reviews
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I gave this book a three because it was an okay read and the mystery's twist was satisfactory, but the story was not gripping. It took me a long time to finish reading only a chapter or two at a time. My initial interest was because it was set in my home state WI. Not a page turner, but a decent story.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in the genre, but OK, January 26, 2004
By 
tzefirah "tzefirah" (Media, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
I enjoy this genre of mystery, the type that takes place in a small town with quirky local characters and not much blood and guts. This book is the first in the Loon Lake, Lew Ferris Police Chief, fly fishing series.
Although the series touts tough, fly fishing Ms. Lew Ferris as police chief, the book is told through the eyes of retired dentist Dr. Osbourne, who is deputized to be a forensic dentist. Usually in this genre, the story is told through the actual detective. Seeing the mystery unfold second-hand through the dentist's eyes is different, and frankly, not as interesting. His contributions to the clue-finding are tripping over the body and identifying that her gold fillings have been pulled out. For the rest of the clues, the reader must rely on what Chief Ferris chooses to tell him. This is complicated by Dr. Osbourne's developing crush on the police chief.
I don't think this author is as good a writer as, for example, Earlene Fowler (quilting mysteries) or Diane Mott Davidson (culinary mysteries with excellent recipes included). However, if you are desperate for another author who can be relied on to keep to the genre, I would recommend this author, Victoria Houston (the name sounds made up, doesn't it?).
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Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery)
Dead Angler (Loon Lake Fishing Mystery) by Victoria Houston (Mass Market Paperback - April 1, 2000)
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