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Dead Deceiver Paperback – February 1, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
Book 11 of 14 in the Loon Lake Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In Loon Lake, Wisconsin, a woman is murdered, her body discovered under a bridge. But Lew Ferris, chief of police, has his mind on another case—a local woman claims she’s being stalked. Is the woman, a former nun with possible psychological problems, imagining it, or is someone really terrorizing her? The latest Loon Lake mystery, like its predecessors, depends on its characters to propel readers through the story: Lew, Doc Osborne, likable Ray Pradt (who, in this book, is angling for a part on a new reality TV show about ice fishermen), and the newcomers, alleged stalker victim Patience Schumacher and her husband, Charles Mason. The nice thing about the book is that fans of the series will enjoy reuniting with some old friends, and newcomers can jump right in and have a great time. Mysteries set in small midwestern towns (Mary Logue’s Claire Watkins novels and William Kent Kreuger’s Cork O’Connor series, among others) have become a definite trend. Recommend Houston to fans of this thriving subgenre. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...Houston does an outstanding job of crafting a good plot and entangling her rural protagonists in real-life situations." --Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935562614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935562610
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,061,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dead Deceiver is a vast improvement over her last effort (Dead Renegade) which felt like it was written by an amateur ghostwriter. Dead Deceiver delivers interesting, reasonably well-developed characters, especially the recurring protagonists. The plot is interesting and well thought out, offering twists to keep readers on their toes. Tension builds pleasantly, as in most of her previous efforts. The conclusion is allowed to develop without feeling forced or contrived. An enjoyable read and a relief after Dead Renegade.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hooray, Houston is back! After her last book, Dead Renegade, with its somewhat thin, convoluted plot, this latest book in the Loon Lake mystery series is back on track. All the regular characters (Lew, Doc Osborne, Ray Pradt) become involved with a shooting tied to a stalker and email hacker. The story moves quickly, my only wish was that there had been a fishing interlude. You may want to finish this one in one sitting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reason that I fell in love with this series is because of the descriptive fishing throughout. In the last two books (this one included), Lew and Doc haven't even picked up a rod and reel. Thus, in my opinion, Ms. Houston has become a live deceiver...little play on words...for not sticking to her original fishing themes. The books have become just another mystery series, albeit a good one, but not up to my expectations.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dialogue was choppy and unrealistic. Characters were one dimensional and not at all interesting. It was very easy to figure out who the murderer was. There were no twists or turns or action. There were a lot of typos.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle editing was TERRIBLE - there were typos every few pages, and some sections of text were copied and pasted from one chapter to another. The book held little or no mystery since the bad characters in the book were cast as shifty from their first introduction. You could tell who the good people and the bad people were supposed to be so there was no guessing. The characters were supposed to be quaint, but were very boring. I grew up in the country, but I don't hold a conversation like I'm part of the Andy Griffith show, like the characters in this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of my favorite things about my Kindle is the ability to download free/special offer books from authors I might not try if I had to purchase at cover price. I downloaded this book for free and am very thankful for that. While the book has a strong attention grabbing start, the characters, of which there are far too many, are poorly developed and uninteresting. The book was filled with boring details about the characters that does little to draw the reader in. Sadly, quite a disappointment.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kathy Beltner starts out alone to do a multi-mile snowshoe hike on a park trail only hours before dark, with snow falling and her cell phone left behind in her car. When she lets her mind wander to personal problems and gets off the main trail, she decides to play Daniel Boone through the woods instead of backtracking her steps to the known trail. And then the consequences of all these poor choices rain down on her head. She comes upon a well-lit, homey cabin occupied by a grisly bearded squatter and takes a .357 gunshot to her face.

When Chief of Police Lew Ferris wakes up that same day, all she has on her plate is an international ice fishing competition that is bringing in a spate of spectators and multiple television crews. By the time she goes to bed that night, she still has the ice fishing competition but she also has a murder, a stalker, and multiple cases of identity theft associated with someone hacking into the local tech college’s network.

Victoria Houston writes marvelous murder mysteries in the cozy genre. She has created realistic protagonists in Doc Osborne, Lew Ferris and Ray Pradt. They are characters who are qualified to investigate crimes, not the cupcake bakers or the quilting mavens or the bridge club members that many authors try to foist off on the reader. These are decent people, with integrity and intelligence. And they are believable in both their actions and their emotions.

So, if her mysteries are so well constructed with protagonists who are not only believable but feel like friends, why would I rate this work with only 2 stars? Because Houston chooses to insult her readers by being free and loose with the laws of physics and by being even freer and looser with the details of her main character’s backstories.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book I've read by this author. I've fished the lake area in Wisconsin and Minnesota in my youth and the description of the people rang true. Life is at a different pace, with different priorities, but the folk are not stupid by any means as some writers like to portray Rural America. And romance among older folk is also different than the first rushes of hormones and appearances. It's more about true companionship and admiration, stripped of a lot of the games and superficialities of the twenty to thirty-something set.

This book is called a fishing mystery, but the fishing is more of a light accent than a true theme. Background that really isn't important. Lew, the local sherriff, and Doc Osborne, the dentist turned forensic odontologist, have a murder to solve and a stalker/cybercrime situation to deal with at the same time that a major fishing tournament is overworking the small police department. With the assistance of Ray Pradt, local character and all-around good guy, the job gets done.

I found that the beginning of the book was better than the end. The mystery was pretty predictable and the cybercrime aspect was anything but new. I didn't have any problem enjoying the book even though it was the first in this series I've read. I thought that the main characters were good, but that the supporting characters were a bit flat or formulaic.There are some editing issues such as repeated text that is probably due to the Kindle gremlins. A good read to pass the afternoon, 3.5 stars.
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