Current Reading: Deception Cove by Owen Laukanen

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.

The Blurb:

“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.

My Take:

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?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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21 Responses to Current Reading: Deception Cove by Owen Laukanen

  1. Cap'n Bob Napier says:

    I don’t like pit bulls, even if they’re mixed, and the idea that every vet is a raging case of PTSD is getting old fast. So, I don’t think I’d want to read this. I’m glad you enjoyed it, though.

    • They aren’t dogs I like much either, but in this one, the dog has a small roll and could have been any breed. I agree that soldiers with PTSD is getting old, but it exists. The PTSD in this case was triggered by a raid on a village and is described in detail, so it rang true. I liked the story and there was plenty of action.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I agree, I liked this one a lot too, though it could have used a little editing. Book two is coming out in August.

    I’m reading (one story a day) the Arthur Train MEGAPACK collection, with probably half the stories involving Mr. Ephraim Tutt. There is some what would be considered unacceptable racism in a couple of the stories (written nearly 100 years ago), but overall they are entertaining.

    I enjoyed the second Charlaine Harris Gunnie Rose book, A Longer Fall, as I did the first. It was a pretty fast read. And I will be finishing the fifth (and latest) Timber Creek K-9 book, Tracking Game, by Margaret Mizushima, set in Colorado, this morning. There isn’t much else to do but read and watch DVDs and mediocre television (no Netflix here) if they make it impossible to go out to restaurants. We are probably stuck here in Florida for at least another couple of weeks, but clearly New York is in much worse shape, so there’s that.

    I have the new Peter Robinson book up next.

    • Jeff, I have the next one on hold at the library, whenever it shows up and whenever the system reopens. SIGH. Sounds like your reading plenty. Are the movie theaters closed there?

      The Governor here is considering restaurant and bar closures, but it hasn’t happened yet. Probably any day now. We don’t dine out a lot, but we went out for breakfast at a favorite place this morning. Three other tables were occupied in a place that has 35 tables. They seated us far from the others.

      I’m not sure what I’ll read next.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        So far, the movie theaters are still open – we have tickets to see Emma tomorrow, so we’ll see. They are selling tickets with two together, then two empty seats, then two together, etc. We went to a bagel place this morning and it was business as usual, with no one monitoring where you sat (they have high-backed booths). We did pick up food at a local Italian market for dinner, and they seemed to be fully stocked on all fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, plus uncooked stuff, breads and pastries, pizza slices (that they heat up for you to eat outside), etc. Costco and Walmart are pretty well stocked, other than no toilet paper or paper towels or the like.

        I see New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have closed everything with 50 people or more (including movie theaters), plus bars, and restaurants are only open for take out or delivery.

        • Barbara’s gym, 24-Hour Fitness, has cancelled all classes, though doors are open for those who want to self-workout. The new Fed recommendation is no groups of 10 or more. I assume that excepts grocery stores, gas stations and such. We’ll just have to see. Sounds like you may have more choices in FLA than NY

          • Jeff Meyerson says:

            OK, forget the above. Jackie has been getting more and more freaked out (and no, closing Starbucks was a factor but not the only one) , especially with no real answers coming from Washington. Finally, she said enough and we are leaving this Wednesday instead of next week (or a week or two after that).

            With everything going on, it will still be good to get home. I hope.

          • Well darn. I’m sorry that she’s so freaked, not sure I agree there’s need to be, but I think I understand. Home is good, but things may be more restrictive.

            HAVE A SAFE TRIP!


          • Hope your trip home is going well.

      • Still reading some short stories, and a mystery.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    Reading the first Nicci French book. Monday something. It is pretty good but the fourth was better. Better than the opposite drift. I like the main character and her assorted friends more than the mystery.

  4. Jerry House says:

    I’m trying the new Colin Cotterill but have not been able to get too far into it. Just not in the mood, I guess.

    Luckily there is always some old stuff that holds my interest. Edgar Rice Burrough’s second western about Shoz-dijiji, the last Apache war chief, APACHE DEVIL and Murray Leinster’s CITY ON THE MOON, the third book in his Joe Kenmore trilogy, both worked out nicely for me, as did two more of John Creasey’s Roger West series, DEATH IN COLD PRINT and THE GELIGNITE GANG. I also finished George Orwell’s 1984 and I’m still wondering why I had not read it earlier.

    Coming up, most likely some more old stuff. I have a couple by Eric Frank Russell that look interesting and four more of Basil Copper’s Mike Faraday series on hand, as well as several Henry Kuttner’s book-length novels in the old STARTLING STORIES; or perhaps some Doc Savage or a collection of Paul Ernst’s Dr. Satan stories. Time will tell;

    Life isn’t too bad hunkering down if you have plenty of books on hand.

    Stay safe, Rick..

  5. I agree with Cap’n Bob on the wave of mystery novels with characters suffering from PTSD. I just finished Nick Petrie’s BURNING BRIGHT, the second novel in the Peter Ash series. Ash, a veteran, suffers from PTSD in a unique way. One of the women in Diane’s Book Club has listened to the audiobook version of Owen Laukeanen’s book. She said she enjoyed it. I’m about to start another Big Fat Book (1000 pages!) on the Enlightenment!

    • This is the first book with a PTSD character that I’ve read, so the “wave” of those books hasn’t affected me at all. Was the audio book the woman listened to this one or one of his other thrillers?

      A thousand pages on European religious history? You’re a glutton for punishment.

  6. Yes, Diane’s Book Club member listened to DECEPTION COVE. Then she went on to listen to a couple of other Owen Laukeanen novels. As you know, I’m always seeking Enlightenment. What better way to get there than by reading a 1000 page book!

  7. tracybham says:

    Rick, sorry I took so long to comment on this post. I know I saw it earlier because I remember thinking that the author sounded familiar. But I must have gotten so caught up in all the things we were trying to get done and lost track.

    Anyway, I do have this author’s first book, and I will try that one. Then maybe look around for this one.

    I am concentrating on comfort reading right now and I am rereading books 2 and 3 of the Zeck Trilogy by Rex Stout. Which I am sure you mentioned a while back.

    Interesting to hear (in the comments) about all the differences in how areas are handling restaurant closures, etc. In our county restaurants were ordered to close except for take out and delivery, but our nearest restaurant is still open, although I am sure they are not getting lots of customers coming in.

    • Tracy, there’s no hurry to comment, any time is good. The authors first books are thrillers, I think, more than mysteries. This a bit in between, and the start of a series.

      In Oregon, all restaurants are closed except for takeout/pickup. We have a bagel place we like, and they put up an App which lets customers order, prepay, then pick up at the door. It’s near our pharmacy so she got some today. We’re pretty well stocked and settled in for the week. Next planned outing is Thursday.

      The biggest problem I’m reading about is testing for those who need it. Availability is limited, it seems. Neither of us has symptoms.

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