Customer Reviews: Dead Tease (Lake Loon Mystery)
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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I ordered this book to review, I was not aware that it was the latest in a series of books, the Lake Loon Mystery series, all mysteries dealing with the residents of Lake Loon, a small town in Wisconsin. Perhaps if I had read the previous books and come to know the characters and environs better, my opinion of this book would be different. However, to a reader just picking up the book and expecting a good mystery, "Dead Tease" is a great disappointment.

First of all, the characters in this book are a mish-mash of strange and weird personalities: a crazy doctor, her evil mother, the odd police chief, her sometimes lover, an unbalanced wife, and at the center of it all, the main character--is it Jim or John?--a philandering Don Juan who is the CEO of a small clinic at Lake Loon. To have a good reading experience, the reader has to care about at least some of the characters, but these were too strange to elicit empathy.

Second, the plot is weak. The "dead tease" could be any one of them, not that the reader cares much who it is by the end of the book. A reader should be able to look back after the mystery is revealed and see how it unfolded, but this reveal is just confusing.

Finally, the number of grammatical errors in this book was distracting. I realize that the advance copies we get in the Vine Program are uncorrected proofs, and I expect to see some errors, but I have never seen so much that needs to be corrected--spelling, punctuation, usage, even names of characters. When a previously unmentioned name was introduced, I hunted through the book for who he was--to no avail. The book does not have to be grammatically perfect, but it should be able to be read without annoyance.

The only virtue of this book is its brevity. At 170 pages or so, at first I thought I had inadvertently ordered a children's book. The subject matter, however, is definitely adult. To repeat, maybe if you are a fan of this series, you will enjoy this book. But I strongly caution anyone who just picks up this book in search of a good, well-plotted mystery: You may be disappointed.
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VINE VOICEon March 4, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Jen Williams is young, attractive, and has plans for her life and career. Her affair with Jim McNeil, the CEO of the medical clinic that employs her, fits in nicely with those plans. However, Jen is brutally stabbed and is found dead outside her condo. Now it's up to Lew Ferris,the police chief in Loon Lake, Wisconsin, and her friend "Doc" Osborne, a forensic dentist, to find out who is responsible for this vicious crime.

When I first began this book, I felt a little like a newcomer to a real-life small town. I was confused by all the characters and couldn't keep track of who everyone was and how they were connected to each other. However, once I got the important characters and their backgrounds straightened out, I began to enjoy the story.

Lew and Doc make a formidable team. They are partners in every way - friends, fishing partners, investigative partners, and romantic partners. They are good match and show each other affection and respect, which makes them characters to root for. Although it's a short book, all of the characters have depth and by the end of the book, I really felt like I had gotten to know the main characters, as well as the various supporting characters in the book. The outdoor scenes and fishing trips help you to get to know the characters better and give the reader a glimpse at life in this small midwest town.

The mystery was interesting and there are several people in the town with a motive to kill Jen. The young woman made quite a few enemies in her short life, but there are few twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end of the book. I was unfamiliar with this author before reading this book and didn't realize it is part of a long-running series. It reads like a stand-alone novel and is well-written and engrossing. I recommend this book and will be checking out some of the earlier books in the series to see what I've been missing!
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on December 15, 2015
The story had interesting characters and good interactions between them. The book was spellchecked and edited well. I haven't read any other books from this series but was still able to fully enjoy the read, no cliffhangers. Descriptions of the area were imaginable for someone not from that area. There were some descriptive words for people that apparently locals use, I was not able to define until used in context several times.
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on August 9, 2015
I am so glad I found this series of stories. I love reading them and always look forward to the next book. It is great someone can write about an older person and his life. Glad Osborne found a girlfriend. Hope he doesn't get hurt. Really like Ray Pradt's involvement in the stories. He is one crazy person.
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on June 1, 2014
I've read several of the Loon Lake mysteries, since I own a cottage on Loon Lake. They are always fun and Wisconsin accurate except I don't think anyone goes to Green Bay to shop. If you were at my Loon Lake, you would drive to Appleton but if you were in the fictional Loon Lake, I think you'd be driving to The Cities. It's fun trying to physically locate the fictional Loon lake by the clues in the stories, I'm guessing Marshfield.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I received a review copy of this book from the Vine Program. Be aware that this seems to be part of a series of books. Often, these novels can be read as a series but can also stand on their own. For this series, I think you almost need to read the series from the beginning. I found it extremely difficult to follow in many instances, not knowing the back story of the characters.

While I think the writer uses an engaging and interesting setting for these novels, the plot of this one seems extremely disjointed. The characters are, for the most part, not particularly likable, making it difficult for me to actually care what might come next, or what fate they could meet. Looking back, the plot had more holes and unanswered questions than I would like; I enjoy looking back and seeing the hints along the way that I may have overlooked. Maybe too much was just left unsaid, or the fact that I was unfamiliar with the locale and the characters had something to do with that.
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on July 19, 2014
I like this whole series but I like series with recurring characters. There's small town law enforcement solving crimes. There's an element of romance. The author does a good job of developing realistic interpersonal relationships. Many of the books touch on a socially relavent issue.
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VINE VOICEon March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Bottom line: This is a pleasant, lightly engaging mystery. Not too scary but not quite a cozy. Regular readers of the series will probably enjoy it much more than I did.

This is the 12th book in the Loon Lake Mystery series, which I didn't realize when I started reading it. The story stands on its own and I was able to follow along, so it isn't absolutely necessary to have read the previous books in the series, but I think reading them would give the reader a better sense of the main characters and the town.

For me, the book was just OK, but regular readers of the series probably have a connection with the characters that would give them more enjoyment.

For other new readers, it is a mystery that is more than a cozy but less than a thriller. The story is set in the fictional northern Wisconsin town of Loon Lake. (There is a Wisconsin lake named Loon Lake but it's further south of where I believe the series is set.)

The two main characters are Police Chief Lew Ferris (a woman) and her significant other, retired dentist Doc Osborne, both of whom enjoy fishing. The county coroner is an inept political appointee, so Chief Ferris frequently deputizes Doc Osborne to assist with murder investigations.

In this book, the murder happens at the very beginning of the book. The victim is a young woman who'd been having an affair with her married boss, who had recently called off another affair with an angry woman. The reader knows who the actual killer is at the beginning, but not who hired him.

In addition to the murder, the wife of the philanderer believes she is being stalked and the police are called to investigate a break in. There is a subplot in which Doc's granddaughter stayed with him, but that didn't seem to go anywhere significant.

I guessed the identity of the killer early in the book, but there are red herrings enough to keep one guessing.

I enjoyed the main characters and Doc's friend Ray but would have liked more of the flavor of Northern Wisconsin small town. (I'm from Minnesota and like our local mysteries.) The characters use some regional slang, calling people "razzbonya" or "jabone," which the author has explained means something like "nincompoop." But I would have liked even more of what the town is like -- more importantly, what the outdoors areas are like as the characters spend time fishing. Again, this probably comes with reading the entire series.

My biggest complaint is that the book was too short. I could see a book this length being a mass market paperback but I wouldn't spend hardcover book money (perhaps not even trade paperback money) on something this short. However, the series must have enough fans willing to do so.

For me, the book was OK but nothing special, which was disappointing because I enjoy the local Minnesota mysteries and wanted to expand into the neighboring state for regional mysteries. But I expect that regular readers of the series will quite enjoy this latest installment.
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VINE VOICEon March 11, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
...and based on the short description I read before ordering the book, I thought that I would.

Ultimately the problem for me was that while there were lots of characters in the short novel, they just added to the confusion for me - as I was unaware I was reading a story that apparently was somewhere pretty far into a series. Also I find novels too anchored in very specific areas of the country and too involved with a single business or interest, such as fishing, to be written too narrowly for the general public as a whole to enjoy completely.

The plot was a bit simple and the culprit a bit too easy to discern. There where plot twists, but useless by the time they arrived as the reader was ahead of the game by then.

All in all, I didn't really care for the book but gave it 3 stars because I think it would be an okay book if it were read by readers already introduced to the locale and the multitude of characters involved. I am not interested in going back and reading to get myself more involved in the series; but if you are interested in reading this book, I would suggest you start at the beginning, so to speak. It would certainly help you to like this book better.
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VINE VOICEon March 19, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found Dead Tease to be an engaging murder mystery novel. However, there were some elements which didn't appeal to me. For starters, this book is apparently part of a series of books called the "Loon Lake Mystery" series. Readers unfamiliar with some of the earlier character development might find some of the elements out of place, or at least oddly placed. Secondly, although individuals familiar with the author's choice of setting might identify with it, the setting was a bit foreign to me, even though I grew up on a lake.

Throughout the book, a seemingly serious investigation is virtually put on hold because the investigator can't miss a night of fishing or absolutely has to get out on the boat to try a certain fishing technique. A love of fishing is one thing, but I think the author went overboard (so to speak) with the fishing references.

As for the writing, the book is well-written and character develop is impressive given the size of the book. I did enjoy the book, yet I am hesitant to go out and purchase more Loon Lake mystery novels. I think the author did a lot of "telling" instead of "showing," and she took certain liberties in assuming her readership already knows, understands or has experienced the setting and its idiosyncrasies. In other words, I did not grow up in Rhinelander, so show me what this region is like through your words.

The story is somewhat predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. I sometimes favor colorful small novels like this as opposed to 500 pages of dry writing. This book would be ideally sized for an airline flight or just for fun. Would I go out and purchase another book in the Loon Lake series? The jury is out.
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