Deception Cove
by Laukkanen, Owen

A recently widowed marine suffering PTSD from her time in Afghanistan has her service dog kidnapped by a corrupt deputy sheriff who wants to blackmail her into delivering goods allegedly stolen by her husband before his death. 25,000 first printing.

Owen Laukkanen's Stevens and Windermere novels have been nominated for the Anthony, Barry, Edgar, and Thriller Awards. A graduate of the University of British Columbia's Creative Writing program, Laukkanen spent three years in the world of professional poker reporting before turning to fiction. He currently lives in Vancouver with his dog, Lucy.

A promising beginning to a new series set in a remote corner of Washington State, featuring an ex-marine and a recently released convict, brought together by a therapy dog modeled on the author's own rescue pit bull. Mason Burke trained Lucy while he was in prison, and she was placed with Jess Winslow as a PTSD service animal. Winslow has been battling both her own inner demons and the corrupt local sheriff, who erroneously believes she has a package that her late husband stole from him and is threatening to have the dog destroyed unless she hands it over. Resilient female veterans and decent ex-cons are somewhat scarce in the genre. These two, who unite against a dangerous challenger and find an odd sort of redemption, are keepers. Fans of C. J. Box and Michael Koryta will enjoy the authenticity of this gut-wrenching story, which culminates in a fight to the death when the action moves out to sea, the same setting as Laukkanen's previous stand-alone, the well-received Gale Force (2018). Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

The latest by the author of the Stevens and Windermere series and the maritime thriller Gale Force (2018). When Mason Burke is released from a Michigan prison after serving 15 years for murder, he has no skills and no money. Near the end of his sentence, he worked with a rescue pit bull mix named Lucy in an experimental program. They weren't supposed to bond, but you know how men and dogs are. Upon his release, Burke knows he can never have Lucy back, but he simply wants to know she's doing well. From a photo he correctly guesses that she's been sent to tiny Deception Cove, Washington, so he borrows money and follows her there. Lucy has been a companion for widowed ex-Marine Jess Winslow, whose psyche remains badly shaken by combat in Afghanistan: "She couldn't survive without Lucy." But when a corrupt deputy sheriff gives Jess trouble, Lucy bites him in the butt. Authorities take umbrage—and Lucy—and plan to destroy her. Jess' dead husband, Ty, had something the crooked cops want, and they hold Lucy hostage until Jess coughs up information she doesn't have. When Mason and Jess meet, they are two troubled people connected only by a homely, comforting dog. Jess' nightmares make her scream, and Lucy's slobbery tongue on her face calms her down. For his part, Mason's time in prison was well spent with reading and reflection on his screw-ups. Once they meet, the story escalates quickly. Springing Lucy from death row is job No. 1, after which all three are in deep trouble. Jess and Mason carry equal weight in this story as they learn to trust and rely on each other. Her marksmanship skills come in handy, while "the most decent man she'd ever met in her life" has much to learn. But decency is his strong suit, and it serves him well. And Lucy shows them both a fierce loyalty. If the novel ever becomes a movie, she'll be a strong candidate for best supporting dog. Laukkanen's thrillers go beyond bloodshed and giving bad guys their due. His p r otagonists show a level of humanity that makes his stories a real pleasure. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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