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Dead Wood (A John Rockne Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Dani Amore
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the exclusive enclave of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a woman who builds custom guitars is murdered. A disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator is hired by the dead woman’s father and immediately becomes the target of a violent ex-convict. An enigmatic music star performs damage control on her links to the dead woman. And a professional killer who idolizes Keith Richards is brought into town by a mysterious employer.

Dead Wood is what great mysteries are all about: love, hate, faith and vengeance, all wrapped up in an explosive story that simply refuses to let up.

“Dead Wood is a fast-paced, unpredictable mystery with an engaging narrator and a rich cast of original supporting characters.” –Thomas Perry, Edgar-winning author of The Butcher’s Boy.

“From its opening lines, Dani Amore and her private eye novel DEAD WOOD recall early James Ellroy: a fresh attitude and voice and the heady rush of boundless yearning and ambition. Amore delivers a vivid evocation of time and place in a way that few authors achieve, nailing the essence of her chosen corner of high-tone Michigan. She also deftly dodges the pitfalls that make so much contemporary private detective fiction a mixed bag and nostalgia-freighted misfire. Amores’ detective has family; he’s steady. He’s not another burned-out, booze-hound hanging on teeth and toenails to the world and smugly wallowing in his own ennui. This is the first new private eye novel in a long time that just swept me along for the ride. Amore is definitely one to watch.” — Edgar-nominated author Craig McDonald

Dani Amore’s writing reminds me of the great thriller writers -- lean, mean, no nonsense prose that gets straight to the point and keeps you turning those pages.” --author Robert Gregory Browne

"As gritty as the Detroit streets where it's set, DEAD WOOD grabs you early on and doesn't let go. As fine a a debut as you'll come across this year, maybe any year." --author Tom Schreck

Editorial Reviews


"Dead Wood is a fast-paced, unpredictable mystery with an engaging
narrator and a rich cast of original supporting characters."

--Thomas Perry, Edgar-winning author of The Butcher's Boy.

From the Author

Follow Dani Amore on Twitter:  @authordaniamore

Product Details

  • File Size: 487 KB
  • Print Length: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Slogan Books (January 27, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005KKUVX6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,078 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
98 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! September 12, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John Rockne: A young police officer who makes a terrible mistake that ends up costing the life of a teenage boy.

Fast forward: Convinced his daughter was murdered by her boyfriend, Clarence Barr hires John (now a private investigator) to prove or disprove his theory.

And so it goes. John is a likable, believable and sometimes hapless man who works hard to find answers for his client. He still feels guilt for his past mistake but we aren't inflicted with prolonged angst, nor is he a boozer or recovering alcoholic. He's just an ordinary guy with two daughters and two strong women in his life; his wife and sister.

The murdered woman was an artist who made fine guitars and was killed while completing one she made for a famous singer. Lurking in the background is a killer for hire who moves closer to John as the investigation progresses.

The story is fast paced and has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I liked John so much and got so involved in the book that I wanted to slap him on the back of the head when he did something stupid and held my breath when he was in danger.

Can't recommend it enough. As soon as I read the last page I went online and bought Dani Amore's previous book Death By Sarcasm
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best new mysteries of this year! December 8, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The dead wood of this book refers to both old wood salvaging from Michigan's Lake St. Clair and the incredibly gifted guitars made of them by Jesse Barre, the young, talented, beautiful and recently murdered daughter of an elderly retired country western crooner/songwriter who is asking John Rockne, P.I. for help finding her killer.
The author gives us wonderfully complex characters, a P.I. who is not, as his wife says, Russell Crowe, a sister who is the Grosse Pointe's Chief of Police and whose biting remarks about his sleuthing abilities would discourage a lesser mortal. And though John covers the barbs with clownish humor, he's also a guy that isn't easily discouraged. After all, as the author shows us, he's successful at what he does since has a back-log of business waiting for him, if he can solve this murder case . And, John will get to the end of case or die trying, because people keep trying to kill him. From a retired CIA spook, to the low life characters who traffic in stolen property, it seems like everyone is trying to cut off some or all of him. He doesn't quit, which is after all, what I'd want if I were were to ask a P.I. to help me find the killer of my daughter. And, because he doesn't quit, the end has a very satisfying twist to it.
I very much admire an original story and the ability to make me turn the page again and again. So, for me, never mind that the book is only $.99 I'd happily pay a lot more for another John Rockne mystery.
This is a well deserved five star read!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary PI with 'No' hangups. July 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like John Rockne, who is an ordinary guy with no addictive hangups, he doesn't need crutches with the load of guilt he carries around. Dani Amore creates a compelling character in DEAD WOOD. The story's plot twists around the upscale neighborhood of Grosse Point, MI and its close neighbor Detroit.
John's sister Ellen is the chief of police who spends much of her time getting her little brother out of hot water.
This is not your normal PI story, but it is a fun read.
Nash Black, author of SANDPRINTS OF DEATH.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expectations dashed November 16, 2011
By Nobbyh2
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read Dani's other book "Death by Sarcasm" and loved it. So I went back online and bought two more - "Dead Wood" and "Pound It Home". "Dead Wood" was highly rated so I expected something good. Unfortunately I am greatly disappointed. The Hero, John Rockne, is a pathological liar: he lies to himself, to his wife, to his sister, to the police, to his so-called best friend, to informants and witnesses. I think that only once in the entire book did he tell the truth and that was in the last 10 pages. In addition he is in general a bumbler. He makes some clever guesses but never foresees possible outcomes not does he take obvious precautions. He only survives because our author sends in impossibly unpredictable "reinforcements".

I want my hero to be someone I admire and respect - and I don't object if he acts outside the law. But John Rockne has nothing to admire about him. He is an incompetent, spineless fool.

The plot twists and turns with several sub-plots. If these sub-plots had been finalized the overall story could rate fairly highly. But they are all left hanging at the end. Who, why, and how are not explained about "the Spook"; nor is the full story of the singing star. Even worse, the story of the first death, Ben, is not tied off at all. All we have is the dark spectre of John's guilt pursuing him all through the book, and its connection to the rest of the story is never given (except for the murderer being the same).

The ending itself I considered to be very weak and totally dissatisfying. Our bumbling hero wins out against the best assassin in the world who is allied with one of the most feared men linked to the Mob. Oh, come on!

Then I thought maybe "Pound It Home" would make up for my disappointment. But I found it is a one-chapter erotic story!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great story
I love reading this author`s books. She combines mystery, intrigue as well as humor to further her storyline. The main character is believable as well as humorous.
Published 1 day ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I liked the book. It was well worth reading.
Published 18 days ago by Linda Heal
Published 22 days ago by Rob
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-Hitting Humorous Mystery
John Rockne lasted six months as the youngest cop on the Grosse Point, Michigan police force before a major mistake cost him his job. Six years later, he is now a Grosse Point P.I. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Edie
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be sorry.
This was a good read. Put me in mind of "Fargo" a little. ever bored a minute.
Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth Olson
5.0 out of 5 stars Shannon's special guitar
A very lively P.I yarn that's a very enjoyable read. "Dead Wood" by Dani Amore features protagonist John Rockne, a former disgraced cop turned P.I.. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jim mccarthy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you Love it
Published 1 month ago by Rima M. Mathewson
3.0 out of 5 stars Good -- but....
Though the story line and characters were good, albeit sometimes a little far fetched, I do NOT see need for the f-bomb to be used every other sentence. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Deanna D. Yearsley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read loved it
Published 1 month ago by nancy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
liked the story.
Published 1 month ago by Patricia Stevens
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More About the Author

-New York Times bestselling author Thomas Perry on Dani Amore


My name is Dani Amore, and I'm a crime novelist living in Los Angeles. I currently have nine novels for sale on Amazon. They are KILLING THE RAT (A Thriller) THE RECRUITER (A Thriller), THE CIRCUIT RIDER (A Kindle Serial) BEER MONEY (The First Burr Ashland Mystery) MURDER WITH SARCASTIC INTENT (The 2nd Mary Cooper Mystery) THE KILLING LEAGUE (A Thriller), DEATH BY SARCASM (The First Mary Cooper Mystery), DEAD WOOD (The First John Rockne Mystery), and TO FIND A MOUNTAIN.

I love to hear from my readers and I answer all emails. Stop by my site, or email me at dani (at) daniamore (dot) com.

Thank you for your support, I hope you enjoy my books.


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