Wolf Hollow by Victoria Houston is a highly recommended mystery set in Wisconsin.
Lewellyn (Lew) Ferris fights crime, teaches fly fishing classes, and
enjoys the company of Doc Osborne in the northwoods town of Loon Lake,
Wisconsin. When a group of 12 year-old preteens set a trap and try to
instigate a citizen's arrest on a sexual predator, the man involved
turns out to be Noah McDonough, the 24-year-old
son of wealthy Grace McDonough, a local landowner. Lew makes the arrest
and discovers this wasn't the first time Noah did this. She also
uncovers the information that Grace is in the process of negotiating
with a company for mining rights on her land. This would devastate the
environment and the fishing in the area.
When Lew's brother Pete is discovered dead out by a nest of loons he has been observing, suspicions begin to rise since Pete, an environmentalist, was also involved with an organization planning to file a lawsuit to prevent the drilling on McDonough's land. The mystery deepens when Grace and Noah don't show up in court for his arraignment and can't be found. Then another body is found and it becomes clear that more investigation is needed to uncover the conspiracy that seems to be underway.
Wolf Hollow is an excellent choice for those who would enjoy a cozy-like mystery set in small town Wisconsin and love fly fishing. It is also perfectly easy to enjoy the novel even if you aren't a huge fan of fishing. All the characters you are supposed to trust are likable, and Lew has a group of trusted friends and colleagues to help solve the murder mysteries. The antagonists are very obvious. It is clear who you can trust so the enjoyment is found in the discovery of clues and information while putting all the pieces together to solve the crimes. There are not a lot of gory scenes and details, which is what makes the novel take on the feeling of a cozy mystery (with the exception of some language) but is also a procedural.
This is the first Lew Ferris novel in the continuing Loon Lake
mystery series set in Wisconsin. There are many descriptions of fly
fishing, as well as other fishing, which didn't bother me but may be a
negative for some readers. It is easy to skim over the fishing scenes.
They do add a natural element to the plot since the northwoods are an
important part of the book and establishing the setting and culture of
the area. The novel is well written. Although the mystery itself is not
extremely complicated, it logically follows the clues and discoveries
which is a plus in any procedural.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books.