by Cynthia Chow
& Victoria Houston
This week we are reviewing the latest mystery by Victoria Houston, Dead Loudmouth. We also have a fun guest post from her after the review! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Dead Loudmouth, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and also another link where you can purchase the book from an indie bookstore and also help support KRL.
Dead Loudmouth: A Loon Lake Mystery By Victoria Houston
Review by Cynthia Chow
Loon Lake Police Chief Llewelyn Ferris knew that after a holiday weekend without any felonies or DUIs, the crime-free streak would never last. What she didn’t expect was a grisly double homicide within the Wisconsin fishing village’s Gentleman’s Club, or that the naked bodies would be squashed together up against the ceiling by an elevated piano. With the town coroner for once not drunk but unavailable due to a car wreck, Lew again deputizes her boyfriend Doc Paul Osborne, who may be a retired dentist but still has experience in dental forensics.
As the owner of Buddy’s Place, Chet Wright certainly had his share of enemies, but so did his fellow corpse Tiffany Niedemeier. Not yet divorced, Chet was far from discreet about his indiscretions with the women who worked in his club. In financial dire straits himself, Chet’s three best friends and club members were suing him for credit card fraud. Tiffany wasn’t much better, as it seemed that no one had anything nice to say about the callous, money-hungry young woman. The real question is just who had the means to rig such an elaborate death-trap to catch the couple in a crude compromising position.
Lew and Osborne make a formidable investigative team, each balancing the other in their observations when interrogating local residents. Further bonding them is their complete love of the sport of fishing, one that Osborne is thrilled to be sharing with his beloved granddaughter Madison. The eleven year-old has been hired to assist and be a gofer for ‘uber’ fishing guide/occasional poacher Ray Pradt, who himself just became the coach for Wisconsin State College’s fishing team.
It’s been sixteen books and sixteen years since “Dead Angler” first introduced us to Loon Lake, but only two and a half years have passed for Osborne and his friends. While Lew and Ray share their expertise with fly fishing and specialized fishing lures, they as well explore the darker side of human nature. These quick-paced novels delve into surprisingly complex crimes, and their resolutions are as clever as they are original. Osborne’s troubled family and struggles with alcoholism are sympathetically explored throughout the series, and he copes through his good humor and the support of his friends. This continues to be a reliably enjoyable mystery series with genuinely likable characters and ingenious plot twists.
The Three Major Life Mistakes I’ve Made – not counting my ex-husbands – That Force Me to Write Fishing Mysteries
by Victoria Houston
“The Three Major Life Mistakes I’ve Made – not counting my ex-husbands – That Force Me to Write Fishing Mysteries” is the title of the talk I give to libraries. While the “mistakes” relate to the writing process, I often find audiences interested in the ex-husbands, too. One was certainly not a mistake, and here’s why.
During the fifteen years of our marriage he worked as an investigative reporter covering crime, the mob, and plenty of murders. I might have been a bystander, but I learned plenty about crime detection as well as the good/bad behaviors of various law enforcement teams, medical examiners, and culprits. Shocking at times but always fascinating and inspiring for my books.
A couple of examples:
The first was co-opted by the Coen brothers in their film Fargo, so I can never use anything similar. But it’s still a good story. A husband in a town near us got tired of his wife and thought he could make her disappear. However, he chose midnight on Christmas Eve (I am NOT making this up) to put her through a wood chipper. While he was doing so, the moon came out and a couple driving by saw what was happening and got curious. By the time the cops arrived, the wood chipper had been cleaned, but the medical examiner found a sliver of a fingernail and was able, thanks to DNA advances, to identify the missing spouse.
A second example was a bank president under investigation for money laundering who committed suicide driving his car into a cement wall. Reporters, including my ex, knew it was not a suicide but murder, likely at the hands of some mobsters. This was never proved officially. That situation definitely inspired a murder in one of my books, and I was able to find an expert to give me the details on how a car can be rigged to fake a suicide. Sorry, but I did not put ALL the details in the story.
My latest mystery, Dead Loudmouth, features an ‘accident’ that took place nearly forty years ago. Another reporter, friend of my ex’s, covered the story and shared details that never made the papers. Again, the reporter and others knew it was a murder though that was never proven either. I ‘distilled’ my recollections of what he told us and so my story, which features a unique use of a piano, is a fictionalized version of what might have happened. You’ll have to read it to learn more.
So the fact is, that ex-husband was NOT a ‘major life mistake.’ Our marriage may not have worked for personal reasons, but it was critical to my career as a mystery writer. I keep expecting him to call me up and demand a commission!
To enter to win a copy of Dead Loudmouth, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “loudmouth,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 16, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
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