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Dead Wood

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  432 ratings  ·  52 reviews

"DEAD WOOD is a superbly written thriller...a tour de force."

"Dani Amore is a sensation among Kindle owners who love fast-paced thrillers."
--Mystery Tribune

"From its opening lines, Dani Amore and her private eye novel DEAD
WOOD recall early James Ellroy. This is the first new pri
Kindle Edition, 204 pages
Published by Slogan Books (first published August 31st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Elizabeth A.
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
R.P. Dahlke
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
Shawn Davis
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
Kathleen Valentine
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
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
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.
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.
Good suspensful book.
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
Wendy Cartmell
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
Misty Baker
** 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
John Hillis
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
"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
Gary Hays
A classic from Dani Amore. The suspense level kept me reading for hours. Dani's thrillers are not of the ordinary and expected variety I generally attempt avoiding. Her character portrayals lend a deeper insight into the minds and lives of those with whom her stories surround. If you have never enjoyed one of her novels, let this one make a believer out of you.
I rate this as three stars based solely on the type of book it is. It's a summer read, a book for the beach, something to read when you don't really want to think. The story is written in a way pulls the reader along and for that I give it three stars, but nothing more. Much like in the television show, 24, the main character here experiences injuries on a regular basis that almost kill him, but he just keeps going on. Plus, there are some loose ends to the story that are never erally tied up. T ...more
Really good

When I started this book I was not sure I'd finish it. Got interrupted and went back to it later and then could hardly put it back down. Before I knew it I was almost done. A fast paced book with lots of twists and turns. I would tell people to give it a try.
Marilyn Groves
I' *love* free books to introduce me to new authors. I liked this one well enough to actually pay real money for another of hers.

Nice change of 'venue' for a murder mystery involving the music industry. Enough twists to keep me reading, good writing quality.
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I've never really read P.I. novels before but, this one was a free borrow on Amazon Prime. I enjoyed the fast pace, action, and sarcastic punch lines of the main character and his sister. The story was entertaining.

I found myself a little disappointed by some of the beatings the P.I. endured but yet continued on the case like he was uninjured. Some people he interacted with seemed to hardly notice the damage he was supposed to have sustained (to his face, etc.). A paragraph of downtime (i.e. a w
Larry W Otte

This was one of the best written books that I have read in a long time. Plenty of action and suspense to want to keep on reading.
Natalie Brown
Not a bad book. I've read a few crime series novels and didn't think it was as strong as some however it was enjoyable and I will be checking out the next book to see how the story develops
This novel was fine. It was written well and plotted well, but that was it. I didn't become involved with the characters, most were not substantial enough to get any kind of hold on me at all. The protagonist is a happily married PI (the first I've ever come across in fiction) who is looking for the murderer of a woman who made guitars out of rare wood. He also uses his sister, the local Chief of Police, as a source. I got the feeling that the author attempted to make these characters as 'tough' ...more
I didn't really know how to rate this book. The concept is great. The plot moves along quickly. There's even a few surprises along the way. I guess my only hang up is the dripping sarcasm. I'm a fairly sarcastic person but this was a bit much. It kind of threw me off the story. So, I gave it a 4 just because the story was lots of fun (although I think it was supposed to be...mysterious?) However, I deducted a star simply because the sarcasm was overloaded. Then again, that works for some people! ...more
This is first class crime fiction. It zigs and zags it's way through the humorous and dangerous world of an ex-cop turned PI on the case of his life...and it just might cost him his life. Dani Amore is an excellent writer that tells a great tale and is fluent in the language of the world she creates for these complex and interesting character. Buy this book, read this book...if you like hard boiled crime fiction, this is for you. (The language is rough, but appropriate for the characters.)
Kind of a male Stephanie Plum-like character (PI instead of bailbonds agent). I would read other books with this character.
Good PI book. John Rockne may not be the toughest PI you'll read about, but man is he relentless. I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up to this one ("Hard Rock"). I rate "Dead Wood" 4.6 stars.
This is a terrific debut private investigator novel. Dani Amore has excellent comedic timing making me laugh even when they were talking murder. I love the set-up of having John's sister the chief of police. It adds a fun and unique dynamic of presenting both professional and sibling behavior. Just a great story with great characters and I will definitely read this author again! 4 stars!
Tim McWhorter
Great book! Fast paced and constantly keeping you guessing. Really like the protagonist in this one, though there are a couple things about him that I don't understand and actually confused me. Didn't get in my way of enjoying it though. Wish I could give it 4 1/2 stars. Recommended.
Ken Rossignol
Dani Amore has now made it to my favorite author list. She is a helluva a good writer, her stuff is authentic. This is a top-flight book with great twists and turns and believable characters. Good mystery and cop thriller ready to roll, even with a cocky female police chief.
Really enjoyed this book with PI John Rockne. Plot is detailed elsewhere but the setting near a decaying Detroit and sarcastic sense of humor make this a bit different and refreshing. And the PI hard guy attitude is left out here. A fine and dandy PI read.
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Q&A with Dani...: The Book 2 5 Jul 28, 2012 11:48AM  
Q&A with Dani...: Surprise me! 1 5 Sep 06, 2011 01:13PM  
Q&A with Dani...: Welcome 2 5 Sep 06, 2011 01:11PM  
Q&A with Dani...: 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 & Nobl...: DEAD WOOD my new 99 cent crime novel! 1 12 Sep 05, 2011 05:42AM  
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Dani Amore is a novelist living in Los Angeles, California. She blogs at her website,

Follow her on Twitter: @authordaniamore
More about Dani Amore...
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