Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dead Wood (John Rockne Mysteries #1)” as Want to Read:
Dead Wood (John Rockne Mysteries #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dead Wood (John Rockne Mysteries #1)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  1,392 Ratings  ·  119 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dead Wood, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dead Wood

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
Yvonne (It's All About Books)
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)
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Mar 04, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Good suspensful book.
Oct 15, 2016 Wendy rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings on this one. One the one hand, the main character John Rockne, is an interesting character - a bit of a smart ass, heavy on the sarcasm and witty retort, but not a tough guy or a typical PI. His sister, the chief of police, is the perfect foil for him and is far tougher than he is.

On the other hand, the dead bodies piled up far too high, given the motive of the first murder, and Rockne is a complete idiot for continuing to put himself in near-death situations instead of le
Dorothy Gagnon
Dec 18, 2016 Dorothy Gagnon rated it it was amazing
Rare Beauty

Rare wood constructed into a work of musical art brings a string of deaths rather than a song of beauty.

P.I. Rockne finds himself not only solving one murder but finding more dead bodies along with being caught right in the middle and fearing for his life.

Great mystery that keeps you turning every page to find the killer.
Jan 03, 2017 Jeff rated it liked it
This was not a bad book, it needed some checks in reality here and there, as to how this P.I. would be able to do half of what he does without being thrown in jail. If you can look past that, it is an excellent story. I will read more of the series.
Nov 25, 2016 Diane rated it it was amazing
John Rockne is a funny character, funny in the Stephanie Plum way. I'll be reading more of him.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Jan 11, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
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  
  • Hope Road
  • Zoned for Murder
  • Deadly Conditions (David Wolf #4)
  • A False Dawn (Sean O'Brien, #1)
  • Circle of Bones (The Shipwreck Adventures #1)
  • Completely Restored
  • A Real Piece of Work  (Dakota Stevens, #1)
  • Killing Down the Roman Line
  • The Undertaker
  • Three Days to Die (Aaron Quinn thriller series #1)
  • Finding Clarity: A Mom, A Dwarf and a Posh Private School in the People's Republic of Berkeley
  • Death on a Deadline ( Sleuthing Sisters Mystery)
  • Little Lamb Lost (Claire Conover mysteries, #1)
  • The Psych Ward Killer (James Wilks Thrillers)
  • A Hint of Murder (A Hint of Murder #1-3)
  • Betrayed
  • Stalking Jack: The Hunt Begins (Madeline Donovan #1)
  • Flirting With Death (Assassins Anonymous - Step One)

Other Books in the Series

John Rockne Mysteries (2 books)
  • Hard Rock (John Rockne Mysteries #2)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »