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Dead Hot Shot (Loon Lake Fishing Mysteries) Paperback – July 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Ninth in the Loon Lake Mysteries

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 Osbornse, 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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

In her teens and twenties, mystery author Victoria Houston was the classic hometown girl who couldn't wait to leave her small Wisconsin town. She has not only returned to her hometown, Rhinelander, but she has based her popular Loon Lake mystery series in the region's fishing culture.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Loon Lake Fishing Mysteries
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bleak House Books (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932557741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932557749
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #721,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Victoria Houston: A Biographical Sketch

She is the author of the Loon Lake Mystery Series -- DEAD ANGLER, DEAD CREEK, DEAD WATER, DEAD FRENZY, DEAD HOT MAMA, DEAD JITTERBUG, DEAD BOOGIE, DEAD MADONNA, DEAD HOT SHOT, DEAD RENEGADE. DEAD DECEIVER, DEAD TEASE and DEAD INSIDER, thirteenth in the series, will be published in June 2013 in hardcover, trade paperback and as an eBook from Tyrus Books. The mysteries are set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin against a background of fishing - fly fishing as well as fishing for muskie, bass, bluegill and walleyes.

Houston's mystery series was featured in a story on the front page of The Wall Street Journal (January 20, 2004) and on NPR's "Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan" (February 2, 2006). Both can be seen/heard on the website:

She has also written six non-fiction books. An award-winning author specializing in family issues, Houston's non-fiction books include the highly recommended ALONE AFTER SCHOOL: A Self-Care Guide for Latchkey Children and Their Parents (Prentice Hall, 1985); the national bestseller, LOVING A YOUNGER MAN: How Women Are Finding and Enjoying a Better Relationship (Contemporary Books (1987); Pocket Books (1988); MAKING IT WORK: Finding the Time and Energy For Your Career, Marriage, Children and Self (Contemporary Books, 1990) -- which was published by Simon & Schuster's Fireside imprint in August 1991 as a trade paperback titled MAKING IT WORK: Creative Solutions For Balancing Your Career, Marriage, Children And Personal Life. Houston co-authored RESTORE YOURSELF: A Woman's Guide to Reviving Her Libido and Passion for Life (The Berkley Publishing Group/2001) with Dr. James Simon, a Past President of the North American Menopause Society.


A few words from the author:

I was born and raised in Rhinelander, WI, in the heart of the fishing culture that backgrounds my mysteries. I grew up fishing for walleye and bluegills and muskie - and when I turned fifty, I learned to fly fish!

I've always had an aptitude for writing (not singing, for sure as the nuns at St. Mary's told me to "just move your lips") and won a full scholarship to Bennington College in Vermont. Went on to have three children, marry and divorce twice. My second husband was 9 years younger, hence my non-fiction book, LOVING A YOUNGER MAN, which I wrote 25 years ago. We broke up for reasons that had nothing to do with the age difference.

After a decade of magazine and newspaper feature writing - the source of my non-fiction books -- I directed promotion and publicity for Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate during which time I had the privilege of working with outstanding writers and cartoonists such as Abigail Van Buren, Gary Larson, Erma Bombeck and Garry Trudeau. Later I joined Jane Mobley Associates, a public relations firm based in Kansas City.

I moved back to Rhinelander in 1996 (having been gone for over 30 years) where I now hunt, fish and write mysteries. Over the years, I have published 23 books - a fact that surprises the hell out of me as I never finished college. I am just starting my 14th Loon Lake Mystery.

My influences are the happenings in the world around me and I continue to be a fanatic newspaper reader devouring The New York Times and Wall Street Journal daily. My favorite authors are Willa Cather, Edith Wharton (Rhinelander is named after her uncle who brought the railroad through in late 1800s), early Hemingway and early John Updike, Raymond Chandler and Ross Thomas. Growing up I was an avid Nancy Drew/Agatha Christie fan. Oh, and G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown series, too. I also enjoy biographies such as the one about Steve Jobs. And poetry! I don't think I could get through the day without some Mary Oliver and Billy Collins to name a few.

I love movies -- Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, The Descendants, Pulp Fiction and Gone With the Wind - and music. I'm currently listening to Calexico, Avett Brothers and Sea Wolf. Other favorites range from Elvis, the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and the Beatles to Adele, Emmy Lou Harris and Aimee Mann. Classical music and jazz round out my listening.

When it comes to the books, I have always worked on a Mac and just treated myself to an iPad. When not writing, I run, play tennis and do Pilates. Oh, and I fish!!


Frequently Asked Questions from Readers:

What is the working title of your next book? Dead Lil' Hustler

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Based on crimes occurring in the national forests across the country. Too soon to say more. The title comes from a fishing lure.

What genre does your book fall under? Mystery: police procedural.

What is the one sentence synopsis for the book? Murder, mayhem and fishing in northern Wisconsin.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I am published by Tyrus Books, the crime fiction imprint of F&W Publishing/Adams Media.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? A book always takes me a full year from notes to final draft as I revise every scene as I go along.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Fear. As in the need to make a living.
Seriously, my books are drawn from the memories I have growing up in this wonderful, gorgeous country - the lakes, the pines, the eagles and the wolves.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? I make my books easy to read and great escapes from the everyday world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patricia E. Reid on August 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Thanksgiving is a holiday for family and friends, relaxing after dinner, and just all around good food and fun. Chief of Police Lew Ferris plans for a peaceful Thanksgiving with Doc Osborne, retired dentist and part time deputy. Doc plans for an early dinner with his family and then a later a leisurely dinner with Lew and hopefully dessert in front of the fire and thoughts of future plans.

First, the death of a local resident intervenes. Nolan Reece is found dead down by her dock early on Thanksgiving. This is just the first of many tragic incidents to happen on this holiday. Lew's coroner is out of town and she finds it necessary to call Doc in to work. Nolan's husband and daughter seem to have strange reactions to Nolan's death which raises questions in Lew and Doc's minds.

Soon another local person is found dead and there is no doubt this one is a murder. Ray Pradt is called in to help out and then Gina Palmer, former investigative reporter arrives in town. Gina is working on a case of credit card theft that may have links to Canada and she soon discovers links to Loon Lake as well.

Most of the characters from the previous Loon Lake Mystery series are on hand and the reader meets a few other residents of the area. The scenery is stunning and the mystery is one that kept this reader on edge. It is not necessary to have read the previous Loon Lake Mysteries to enjoy this one but I would highly recommend latching onto the whole series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cindy Chow on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Retired dentist Paul Osborne was hoping for a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday with his daughter and ladylove Police Chief Llewellyn "Lew" Ferris despite his irritating houseguests, neighbors who have overstayed their welcome by five weeks during their home renovation. Unfortunately, the drowned body of social royalty Nolan Reece washes ashore just after her daughter's engagement party and Lew finds that she also has her hands full investigating a rash of credit card fraud incidents that all seem to be tied to their small Wisconsin town. After deputizing Osborne and more reluctantly, unlikely ladies' man and fishing guide/entrepreneur/everything else Ray Pradt, the three begin investigating the secrets of the Reece family and focus on Nolan's husband's and daughter's lack of bereavement over her death. Doc as well attempts to help two young Indian girls who seem oppressively employed by their foster mother and owner of Mildred's Food Shop, and when violence occurs it's not surprising that in this small town events will intertwine and lead towards a tragic conclusion.
Once again Houston returns to the comfortable and always engaging Loon Lake setting, where the characters continue to be as enjoyable and entertaining as they are familiar. Readers will revel in the advancement of the relationship between Osborne and Lew, as well as the hilariously awkward and definitely unwanted advancements by Osborne's married houseguest. Osborne has finally moved past most of his resentment towards his overbearing late wife, and he and daughters are learning to develop healthy relationships with one another. This is a fast, breezy, and satisfying read in a continually enjoyable series. As always, Houston writes with charm and humor, and her reliable cast of characters is a joy to observe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Island River Scribe on September 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
It’s Thanksgiving Eve and Nolan Reece is giving an engagement party for her daughter, Blue. Pleased with the party, she takes her nightly stroll down to the dock. Since Nolan has managed to blackmail her only child, a child she has hated since before her birth, into becoming engaged to a man she does not love, she is actually feeling exceptionally pleased with herself.

And being more than a little inebriated, she cannot react quickly to the sounds in the brush that shouldn’t be there. A hard blow to the head, a fall into the lake, a solid object shoved over her to hold her down and it’s done.

Needless to say, when the body is found early Thanksgiving morning, a serious crimp is put into the festivities planned by Doc Osborne and his girlfriend, Loon Lake Chief of Police Lew Ferris. Despite the husband’s insistence that the death is an accident, Doc and Lew know the difference between a drunken stumble and an assault. Keeping the evidence they have discovered away from the family, Doc and Lew begin the first laborious steps of a murder investigation.

With no CSI team available in the boonies on a holiday, Doc and Lew do all they can, secure the scene and head home to a very belated Thanksgiving dinner with Ray Pradt and Gina Palmer. Before they can finish their turkey and pumpkin pie, they have another body. The foster mother of two Ojibwa teenagers has been gunned down in front of her bait shop/general store. And those two sisters were not only at Blue’s party the night before, they are also the beneficiaries of a charitable (read that as “financial”) endeavor by Nolan Reece.

Doc and Lew may not see the connection between the two murders yet, but the reader does.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda S. Myers on September 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Victoria Houston's Loon Lake mystery series is first rate. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the books in the series. It's not necessary to read them in order, but you will lose a wonderful part of the books if you don't. This series is very much about the developing relationship between retired dentist Paul Osborne and Police Chief Lew Ferris, a strong independent woman who loves fly fishing. Because the Loon Lake police department is so small, she frequently deputizes both Osborne and his flaky neighbor Ray Pradt to help investigate murders. This device gives logical access to crime scenes, autopsy reports, etc. that many cozy mysteries lack, adding reality. I won't summarize the plot of Dead Hot Shot--it's well done in other reviews. The plots are logical, with well-placed clues but without graphic gore, violence, or sex. Characterization, even with the secondary characters, is always developed well. Fly-fishing background never becomes cloying (and I don't care one thing about fly-fishing). The physical setting is almost a character, and love of the lakes and woods of Wisconsin shines through the series. Highly recommended!!!
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