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Lone Jack Trail (Winslow and Burke Series, 2) Hardcover – August 11, 2020
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Could your closest friend be a killer?
When a body washes up outside Deception Cove, Washington, Jess Winslow-once a US Marine, now a trainee sheriff's deputy-is assigned to investigate. But when she realizes it's "Bad" Brock Boyd, a hometown celebrity lately fallen from grace, things become complicated. The last person seen with Boyd was her own boyfriend, Mason Burke.
An ex-convict and newcomer in town, Mason is one of the only people who can understand Jess's haunting memories of her time in Afghanistan-and her love for Lucy, her devoted service dog. Finding one another in Deception Cove has been the best thing to happen to either of them in years. So Jess knows Mason could never be guilty of murder-doesn't she?
As the facts of the case point ever more squarely at Mason, Jess must face that everything she thinks she knows about him might be wrong. A thrilling sequel to Deception Cove, and a heart-pounding adventure all its own, Lone Jack Trail pushes Jess and Mason to a shocking confrontation and will test everything they've come to love and trust in Deception Cove.
Frequently bought together
“They complement each other perfectly: the veteran’s toughness, the ex-con’s humanity, and the dog’s unconditional adoration of both. All of Laukkanen’s crime novels have tense action and layered characters.”―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Laukkanen excels at showing the strength and resilience of people going through the worst time of their lives in his excellent second novel… Lone Jack Trail is rich storytelling at its best — and with a really great dog. This is a series that will only get better."
―South Florida Sun-Sentinel
PRAISE FOR OWEN LAUKKANEN
"Laukkanen is a damn fine storyteller."― Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Owen Laukkanen is a powerhouse writer... Intimate and cinematic at the same time. A must-read."―Alex Segura, author of Blackout
"In Deception Cove, Owen Laukkanen gives you everything you could want in a thriller -- rich setting, breakneck pacing, thrilling action, a ton of heart, and a great dog. This is a cancel-your-plans-so-you-can-stay-in-to-read book."―Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse
About the Author
- Publisher : Mulholland Books (August 11, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316448753
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316448758
- Item Weight : 1.32 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.13 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #722,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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And finally, every story needs a great dog, and that is without a doubt, Lucy!
There's a lot to savour here, in particular the dynamics of the relationship between our two baggage-laden, lead characters (plus the dog they kind of share). Mason is an ex-con who owns his crime and is trying to forge a future with Jess and Lucy, the pitbull he trained while inside. In fact, despite fifteen years incarcerated, Mason is actually quite well-adjusted. He likes/loves Jess, but is enough of a gentleman to go at Jess's pace and to walk away if she decides there's no future for them as friends or a couple. Jess has her own demons. She's a PTSD suffering veteran and a widow to boot. She has trust issues and few people that she lets into her life. Jess is now in the unenviable position of juggling her job as local police with the fact that the man she may/may not be considering a future with, may/may not be guilty of a couple of homicides.
Lone Jack Trail - other main plus points ...... a decent pace without seeming rushed; a couple of murders to unravel; relationship troubles; some backstory to the first victim and our main characters, which serves well for those who might not have read the first in the series, but doesn't feel like deja-vous for someone who had; a decent support cast - eg. Rengo, Burke's only friend and another outsider, as a man living on the fringes of the community - and the sheriff and the other officers in the small town police force (names elude me); a man on the run and a manhunt; a conspiracy; some low level criminals - thinking bigger or not thinking at all; an amateur investigation, as well as an official one; a fistfight; a plausible motive for our crimes - initial and subsequent; a showdown and shoot out; an escape and a pursuit and a decent resolution.
Excitement, tension, action, interesting setting and a bit of a slow burner love story as the two main protagonists try and figure out if they have a future together or not.
Negatives - nothing especially. Maybe a slight stretch of disbelief as our man escapes arrest by an impulsive swim, though I suppose it wasn't totally outlandish. Far better than a convenient jet ski.
One other piece which kind of distracted me was the naming of some of the supporting characters, a few of which must have featured unnoticed in the first book of the series. I don't know whether I liked this element or not to be honest. I might be over-thinking things but I spotted ..... Joe Clifford, Ed Aymar, a Pruitt, a Winslow, a Mason, a Harper (or was it Jordan), a Hart (maybe), a Fetridge (a hat-tip to John Mc perhaps?)....... maybe some more, or maybe I just read too much crime fiction and everything in my brain just loops and circles back to other authors I've encountered? On balance, I think I liked this element, there's too many examples for it to be pure coincidence.
Overall 4.5 from 5
I'll be keen to see a third outing in the same setting with the same cast of characters, should the author choose to write one. In the meantime I have some of his earlier books on the shelf unread that ought to be given an airing. Deception Cove is the only other book I've read from Owen Laukkanen thus far.
Read - October, 2020
Published - 2020
Page count - 306
Source - Net Galley review copy
Format - ePUB read on laptop
I shouldn’t have worried. I loved Lone Jack Trail just as much!
While this is a sequel, you can read the book as a standalone. At the same time, Lone Jack Trail does reference the events in the first book quite a bit and builds on the relationships and conflicts there. It’s probably best to read the books in order.
This book hit the sweet spot for me. It’s compulsively readable, with well-developed characters, a setting that shapes the story, and tension that doesn’t abate until the final page. Throw in an adorable dog named Lucy, and it’s a winner. I was enjoying the story so much that it was hard to remember I was reading to review it.
Opening the pages of this book, it felt like I was meeting old friends. JESS and MASON feel like real people. While they love each other, there’s tension between them about where their relationship is going.
Both have a violent past. Mason’s an ex-con who served time for murder, Jess is an ex-Marine who served her country and wound up mentally broken. Both struggle to overcome the past with mixed success. He’s worried that he’ll always and only be a killer, especially as the locals shun him for his past actions. Aside from Jess, LUCY the dog, and a young kid named RENGO, his mentee (and an interesting character himself), he doesn’t have friends.
Jess also has something to prove. She’s a trainee deputy, finding her way as law enforcement in a county that’s still overrun by the corruption. She might be a tough ex-Marine, but she’s still vulnerable to flashbacks to the horrors of war.
Laukkanen does a terrific job of creating a sense of who these people (and dog) are and what makes them tick. Sure, they make bad decisions. They’re human and humans tend to make bad decisions for bad reasons. Or good decisions for good reasons. Or bad decisions for good reasons, or vice versa.
The antagonists feel human, too. While their actions are clearly wrong, they have well-developed motives, ones that become understandable, even sympathetic, as the story unfolds. I could identify with people like JANA and DEX and LOGGER even when I didn’t particularly want to. Who hasn’t wanted revenge? Who hasn’t lied? Who hasn’t made a mistake and then compounded that mistake with a bigger one? Laukkanen’s characters span the scope of humanity. There’s everything from the bad-to-the-bone victim, to the troubled ex-Marine, to the weary sheriff, to the ex-con striving for redemption and fearing he’ll never get it.
The action might be a tad predictable. The outcome was never truly in doubt for me.
THE READING EXPERIENCE
But at the same time, the story unfolds with such rich detail that it completely absorbed my imagination. I felt like I was riding shotgun with Jess and Mason, with Lucy sitting on my lap, thumping her tail and licking my face when she wasn’t sniffing the smorgasbord of aromas outside the window.
I heard the fired gunshots, shivered in the cold alongside Mason when he runs, smelled the chemicals lingering in a former meth lab.
I was there when the harsh landscape became as formidable a foe as any killer.
And I enjoyed every moment.
THE HOPE OF REDEMPTION
For these characters, redemption comes drenched in beauty and heartache and blood. Laukkanen doesn’t flinch from portraying evil, but he does so in a way that offers hope of something better. People can be rescued; people can change. You can move forward from a dark past and work for a better future. He gives us glimpses of grace in the midst of the harsh and unforgiving Makah Bay county, and he does so in a thrilling, satisfying way.
Lone Jack Trail fully lived up to my expectations, and I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here. It is a haunting, thrilling story. Read it. You won’t regret it.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a powerful, character-driven sequel to Deception Cove. It was powerful and suspenseful The story kept me riveted to the edge of my seat all day to learn the outcome, dreading the fate awaiting the main characters.
The Lone Jack Trail can be read as a standalone, but I urge prospective readers to read the previous Deception Cove. This book gives us a glimpse of the background and events leading up to the present. I engaged my emotions more as I felt it had more heart. This book continued the story and contained many thrills, with heightened danger and excitement.
The setting is a once quiet part of the western American coastline just south of Canada. The area is in economic decline. The first book made it appear that its criminal element had been wiped out, but now new brutal and lethal characters have appeared.
Mason Burke had spent years in prison. He bonded with a frightened, nervous dog, Lucy, that he was training. Lucy had been rescued from a dogfighting ring. Small for her breed, she was to be used as bait for the more vicious animals to practice killing. Training turned her into a calm and faithful dog and eventually, she became a service dog for Jess Winslow, an ex-marine suffering from PTSD. Mason missed Lucy, and he and Jess bonded over their mutual love for the dog and began a romantic relationship.
Mason and Jess were living together but now are apart while Mason is helping to renovate her house.
Jess is now training as a deputy sheriff. Due to his background as an ex-convict, Mason is regarded with scorn in the community and has few friends.
Jess becomes involved in her first murder case as a law officer. The body of 'Bad' Brock Boyd washes up on the Deception Cove shore. He had been shot. He was a local celebrity when young being very skillful in hockey, next gaining fame and wealth playing in the big leagues. He was imprisoned for running a dogfighting ring and has just been released. The day he was murdered, people witnessed a brutal street brawl between Mason and Brock. A woman calls the police reporting that she saw Mason shoot Brock and throw the gun in the water. This woman is soon found murdered.
Jess loves Mason but begins to suspect he may be guilty and their relationship is fractured. Mason believes he is being set up as the killer, and false evidence has been planted. He is determined to prove his innocence and is on the run from the law. He desperately hopes to reconcile with Jess and return to her and Lucy who have made his life worthwhile. Jess ends up in the wilderness in pursuit of some very bad men and she and Lucy are in considerable danger. She is on suspension from her position as a police officer and becomes injured. Lucy is lost to her. Mason comes out of hiding in hopes of rescuing Jess and Lucy. He has now discovered the motive for the twisted crime that is based on long-held hatred and revenge
This was a riveting story that was impossible for me to put aside. I look forward hopefully to a continuation of their story.