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Dead Wood (John Rockne Mysteries #1)

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3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,312 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
In the exclusive enclave of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a woman who builds custom guitars is murdered. A disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator is hired by the dead woman’s father and immediately becomes the target of a violent ex-convict. An enigmatic music star performs damage control on her links to the dead woman. And a professional killer who idolizes Keith Richard ...more
Kindle Edition, 204 pages
Published by Slogan Books (first published August 31st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Christopher
Dead Wood is a fairly standard PI mystery thriller. It is set in a town just outside modern-day Detroit, and has what you expect from the genre. Our lead, John Rockne, is a private investigator who has things from his past that haunt him, who blindly stumbles into danger, and who has a love/hate relationship with the local cops. All the stuff we expect, and perhaps why we read the genre. Breaking from the standard tropes, our PI is married with two kids. But that doesn't matter beyond giving som ...more
R.P. Dahlke
Dec 08, 2011 R.P. Dahlke rated it it was amazing
The dead wood of this book refers to both old wood salvaging from Michigan’s Lake St. Clair and the incredibly gifted guitars made of them by Jesse Barre, the young, talented, beautiful and recently murdered daughter of an elderly retired country western crooner/songwriter who is asking John Rockne, P.I. for help finding her killer.
The author gives us wonderfully complex characters, a P.I. who is not, as his wife says, Russell Crowe, a sister who is the Grosse Pointe’s Chief of Police and whose
...more
Elizabeth A.
Oct 10, 2011 Elizabeth A. rated it it was amazing
John Rockne may have made many mistakes in his lifetime – haven’t we all – but it’s one in particular that sticks with him. While a young cop on the Grosse Pointe, Michigan police force he made a judgment call one bitter New Year’s evening, one that ended up costing a young man his life. Unable to face his fellow officers again Rockne walked away from the job, choosing to make his administrative leave permanent.

He didn’t leave Grosse Pointe entirely, however, instead setting up shop as a private
...more
Debbie Oxier
Jun 15, 2015 Debbie Oxier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a top notch mystery/thriller. John Rockne used to be a cop until he he made a deadly mistake that has haunted him ever since. Now he's a private investigator. When country singer, Clarence Barre, comes to him, asking him to find hid daughter's killer, John's first inclination is to decline. It appears to be a home invasion, a burglary that resulted in the young woman's death. However, as John soon discovers, there's much more to the case than meets the eye. He's led on a complicated cha ...more
Yvonne (It's All About Books)
brdeadwood
Finished reading: January 5th 2016
Rating 3,5qqq

"It was like a beautiful melody to him that ended in a blazing crescendo of blood and violence, capped off by the silent applause of a roaring crowd inside his head."

(view spoiler)
...more
Shawn Davis
Dec 06, 2011 Shawn Davis rated it it was amazing
A private investigator with a stained police past, family connections, and an incredible ability to find himself in dangerous situations is determined to find out who killed Jesse Barre. He has no idea that this case is directly connected with the case that ended his career as a police officer... the case that haunts him to this day.

I feel I should say straight away that I generally hate books written in first person. To this day, I have not gotten past page one of Robinson Crusoe because the fi
...more
Linda Todd
Oct 14, 2015 Linda Todd rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: friends
Recommended to Linda by: a gift
A fabulous thrilling story I truly loved reading and will read more as I get the books. This wonderful story was what the doc ordered excitement,laughs & a wee bit of sarcasm thrown in as well truly fabulous book. My heart felt thanks go to the author Dan Ames for the pleasure of reading this wonderful book and hope to read more. This book I would be so delighted to recommend to my friends so to all happy reading from wee me. ...more
Kathleen Valentine
Feb 26, 2012 Kathleen Valentine rated it really liked it
What attracted me to this thriller was the setting on Lake St. Clair and the background of ancient dead wood salvage. It was a very nicely integrated plot device and the story was well done. My only complaint was I found the nastiness of the protagonists older cop-sister to be annoying and downright distracting at times. For the most part the characters were well-crafted and the plot itself was clever and nicely done but I get put-off by consistently snarky, obnoxious characters and Ellen is one ...more
Judi
Aug 07, 2016 Judi rated it it was amazing
If you want a novel that will keep you laughing, full of mystery, action, this is the one for you.
I loved this character - John Rockne. He wanted to be a policeman all of life and went his dream was realized, it was quickly taken away. He had just 6 months in the police department and was a rookie out on New Years Eve night when everything changed. The incident caused him to lose his badge and his dream was over.

Six years later, John is a PI, with a wife and two children. What a character he is.
...more
Gwen Stevens
Aug 11, 2015 Gwen Stevens rated it really liked it
DEAD WOOD by Dan Ames is the first book in The John Rockne Mysteries. It’s fast-paced thriller with unique characters and an intriguing storyline. John Rockne is the protagonist and he’s a bit of a knuckle-head. The “head” thing will come into play a little further down in this review, so keep it in mind.

The story opens up with a bang. You know how in some movies, you’re screaming at the idiot not to go into the basement to investigate that noise? Well, you’ll find yourself doing this to your ki
...more
Debbie Oxier
Jun 16, 2015 Debbie Oxier rated it really liked it
John Rockne is a private investigator, a former cop who'd made a serious mistake that cost him his job. It's haunted him ever since. When Jesse Barre is murdered after making a beautiful guitar for famous singer, Shannon Sparrow, Jesse's father comes to John, asking him to prove his daughter's no-good boyfriend killed her. He's reluctant when the evidence indicates a robbery gone bad. Pretty soon he's getting beat up, beat down, blown up, and embroiled in a mystery that has his wife upset with h ...more
Jim
Jul 25, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
A very lively P.I yarn that's a very enjoyable read. "Dead Wood" by Dani Amore features protagonist John Rockne, a former disgraced cop turned P.I.. John's sister Ellen is the chief of police in Grosse Point MI., where the story takes place. John is hired by Clarence Barre to investigate the murder of his daughter Jesse. Jesse is a guitar building craftsman like no other. Jesse uses wood out of Lake St. Clair. The wood Jesse uses is hundreds of years old and very special. At the time of her deat ...more
Becky
Apr 13, 2016 Becky rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the book. It's entertaining, funny and not pretentious.
Greg
Apr 18, 2012 Greg rated it really liked it
An ex-cop turned private investigator is hired to find the killer of a woman who makes custom handmade guitars. More dead bodies and a look into the local music scene reveal an array of interesting and shady characters as the case evolves.
John has a tendency towards sarcasm and the banter between he and his sister, who happens to be the police chief, is amusing and adds a touch of humor to the story.
A good fast-paced crime mystery.
Marisa Slusarcyk
Jan 02, 2016 Marisa Slusarcyk rated it it was amazing
Started and finished this book in a single day. I love when I get sucked into a book so quickly that I lose track of time! It has been awhile since I have really enjoyed reading and I am finding some awesome reads lately that are just sucking me straight in.
This was a suspense/mystery without much graphic so I consider it to be a fairly clean read. There was some moments but that was more than expected.
The story for me was quite unique having it be a private investigator rather than a police o
...more
J.D.
Oct 16, 2011 J.D. rated it really liked it
Dead Wood is a fast-moving, tightly written mystery. This is the type of classic P.I. novel that I love, but that the major publishing houses don't seem to be interested in putting out any more. A fun, enjoyable read.
Jonathan
Aug 03, 2016 Jonathan rated it liked it
I was looking for a noir novel, and this isn't exactly that. It's more of a "Tongue-in-cheek-wisecracking-PI Novel." While parts push the threshold of reality, it's well written; and entertaining enough to keep you engaged on its own merits. One of the few books I've read this year that's just fun. I'll be following up with the second one shortly.

While I have very few complaints about it (Outside the way the text sometimes: "Jumps"), outside the campy vibe and feel, nothing really sets it apart
...more
Marla Knaack
May 21, 2016 Marla Knaack rated it really liked it
Interesting new hero.

Kind of complex story with lots of characters and story-lines that intertwine. John Rockne is a cop turned PI with a sad story. I didn't especially like the Jeffrey Dahmer true-life scenario in the beginning, just because it WAS true. It's so creepy to think about. But the rest of the story was good, and I enjoy having a little humor thrown in. The story is about solving the murder of a woman who was making a beautiful guitar for a Taylor Swiftish singer. And all the twists
...more
Susan
May 06, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Sam Spade fans rejoice! Dead Wood is the first in a new mystery series featuring anti-hero John Rockne, a private investigator based in Grosse Point, IL. Like Sam Spade, Rockne is intuitive, relentless and wise-cracking. In this first installment Rockne is investigating the death of a beautiful young artist who made one-of-a-kind guitars from wood salvaged from the waters of Lake St. Clair. It is a great book for fans of classic whodunits who like a quick pace, admirable characterization and a t ...more
Mark
Mar 04, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Good suspensful book.
Jill
Jul 05, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing
Good PI whodunit and Absorbing Read

My first read by Dan Ames. I love a good police procedural, thriller, and whodunit so Dead Wood hits the mark on all 3.

A beautiful artisan, her persistent father, and former disgraced police officer turned P.I. set the stage for this story of investigation, greed and deceit.

The writing is smooth and fast paced. A few colorful supporting characters weave throughout.

Good read and I'll moving forward with the next installment and Book 2 of the series.
Dee Cash
Jan 01, 2016 Dee Cash rated it it was ok
A Dead Book

I have often mentioned that I don't like PI novels. This one was no different. It had so many characters that a genius could not keep track. It had no real ending which always seems to be the case with PI novels. It was such a mish mash of a story that it could never be untangled. The PI was a dork who was constantly walking into trouble. He didn't carry a weapon of any kind and depended on his cop sister to get him out of trouble.
I would not recommend this novel.
Matt Lenz
Jan 15, 2016 Matt Lenz rated it really liked it
Deadwood is my first, but not last, Dan Ames novel. It says that it's a John Rockne Mystery on the cover and I found out that this is the first in the series. It's good. I had just a little bit of trouble with the opening, not that it wasn't believable, but because the second chapter starts six years after the opening scene and the main character is not in the same profession he was six years previously. I can go with that, but we never find out about the transition, you just have to believe it ...more
A.M.
Sep 05, 2015 A.M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own, e-books
John Rockne is a PI. Not by choice necessarily, he was a cop and he made one big mistake.
Now, married with two kids and the opposite of the usual PI’s (with family and without a booze/dame problem), he takes a case from a distraught father. His daughter made custom guitars and was killed in her workshop. The police say robbery but he suspects her boyfriend and he wants John to investigate.
He finds trouble all the way: from a stripper bar, a country music star with an entourage of sycophants, her
...more
Alan Marston
Jun 06, 2015 Alan Marston rated it really liked it
I was not too surprised by opening, but would anyone else have been suspicious about the man who was looking for Benjamin? It was obviously the end of what might have been a promising career.
A few years later this was followed by the brutal murder of a gifted guitar maker and a meal with the local newspaper hack - so where is it going?
Then appears the grieving father, arriving at John Rockne's office wanting him to investigate his guitar maker daughter's death. I think Rockne may be a little t
...more
Cheryl
Nov 29, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
John Rockne made a mistake as a rookie cop. It left a boy dead and cost John his career.

Now John's a PI in Grosse Pointe, with a wife and two daughters he loves. And a sister who's the Grosse Pointe Chief of Police. She also happens to be John's BIG sister, with all the angst that implies.

When a woman who builds guitars out of salvaged timber is murdered, her father hires John to find evidence her boyfriend did it. But the boyfriend is murdered so John has to chase after other people. Like the s
...more
Wendy Cartmell
Jul 17, 2012 Wendy Cartmell rated it it was amazing
In the exclusive enclave of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a woman who builds custom guitars is murdered. A disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator is hired by the dead woman's father and immediately becomes the target of a violent ex-convict. An enigmatic music star performs damage control on her links to the dead woman. And a professional killer who idolizes Keith Richards is brought into town by a mysterious employer.

Dead Wood is what great mysteries are all about: love, hate, faith and vengea
...more
Misty Baker
Jan 08, 2013 Misty Baker rated it liked it
** A 3.5 Review **

Neil Armstrong (may he rest in peace) once said:

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”

On the record…I’m not an idiot. I am well aware Mr. Armstrong’s rather genius quote had little to do with murder (more to do with space travel) but let us not forget how I like to misconstrue quotes for my own personal use.

In this particular case: Mystery.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE mystery novels. The intrigue. The deception. Random bodies hangi
...more
John Hillis
Jun 05, 2012 John Hillis rated it liked it
I generally hold independently published novels I purchased for .99 cents on my Kindle to a different scale than those I do which benefited from having a professional editor read them. That said, I have found some excellent books this way, and some horrible ones. Dead Wood settles itself somewhere directly in the middle. I liked the idea and plotting of the book fare more than the actual writing.

The main character, John Rockne, is interesting--a bumbling PI who might figure himself the Philip Ma
...more
Tom
Jan 06, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it
"Dead Wood" opens with a rookie cop named John Rockne riding patrol one New Year's Eve. His shift is almost over, when he encounters a young man named Benjamin Collins, walking drunk, shirtless, and barefoot through the ridiculously cold Michigan night. Rockne stops his patrol car, and is about to run the young man in for public drunkenness, when another man walks out of the darkness. He knows Benjamin, puts shoes and a coat on him, and Officer Rockne figures, why not? After running his license ...more
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Q&A with Dani Amore: The Book 2 5 Jul 28, 2012 11:48AM  
Q&A with Dani Amore: Surprise me! 1 5 Sep 06, 2011 01:13PM  
Q&A with Dani Amore: Welcome 2 5 Sep 06, 2011 01:11PM  
Q&A with Dani Amore: My writing process 1 4 Sep 06, 2011 01:11PM  
Amazon Kindle: DEAD WOOD, my new 99 cent crime novel! 1 5 Sep 05, 2011 05:45AM  
Barnes & Noble Nook: DEAD WOOD my new 99 cent crime novel! 1 12 Sep 05, 2011 05:42AM  
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