MURDER DOES NOT TAKE A HOLIDAY
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. Victoria Houston gives subtle clues in her descriptions of events that allow the reader to know well ahead of the detectives how it happened and probably who made it happen. We already have a good idea what that solid object was that held Nolan Reece underwater. We already have enough information about Blue, the Ojibwa sisters, the foster mother and several other supposedly secondary characters to have a good idea of who is involved. Even the motive in this entry is clearer than in Houston’s previous novels.
Now, we sit back, read on, ignore Houston’s inconsistencies in the historical and current timelines, ignore the laws of physics when she describes a boating scene, and ignore the Gregorian calendar in favor of agelessness. All that is left after that is to enjoy the cozy ride, see if we read the signs correctly, watch Doc, Lew, Ray and Gina piece it all together and hope for their continued good health.
Cover Art From Goodreads