Deception Cove by Owen Laukeanen, Mulholland Books 2019 mystery novel.
After reading a thumbnail review of this in Mystery Scene Magazine, I got it from the library. It’s the first in a new series. Amazon shows this as the first volume of the Neah Bay Series, so I guess that’s the author’s intent.
“A rescue dog, an ex-Marine, and an ex-convict are caught in the crosshairs of a ruthless gang in remote Washington state in this “first-rate thriller” (Associated Press)
Former US Marine Jess Winslow reenters civilian life a new widow, with little more to her name than a broken-down house, a medical discharge for PTSD, and a loyal dog named Lucy. The only thing she actually cares about is that dog, a black-and-white boxer mix who helps her cope with the devastating memories of her time in Afghanistan.
After fifteen years — nearly half his life — in state prison, Mason Burke owns one set of clothes, a wallet, and a photo of Lucy, the service dog he trained while behind bars. Seeking a fresh start, he sets out for Deception Cove, Washington, where the dog now lives. As soon as Mason knocks on Jess’s door, he finds himself in the middle of a standoff between the widow and the deputy county sheriff. When Jess’s late husband piloted his final “fishing” expedition, he stole and stashed a valuable package from his drug dealer associates, one of whom is the Deputy Sheriff . Now the package is gone, and the sheriff’s department has seized Jess’s dearest possession: her dog. Unless Jess turns over the package, Lucy will be destroyed.
The last thing Mason wants is to be dragged back into the criminal world. The last thing Jess wants is to trust a stranger. But neither of them can leave the dog, the only good thing in either of their lives, in danger. To rescue Lucy they’ll have to forge an uneasy alliance. And to avoid becoming collateral damage in someone else’s private war, they have to fight back — and find a way to conquer their doubts and fears.
I liked the characters, the setting, the dog (although it plays a small role), the story. Things got a little stretched out in the middle, but the last third of the book kept me turning the pages. This is a pretty good one, and I look forward to more.
What have you been reading?