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A View to Die For (To Die For series, #1)
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A View to Die For ( To Die For series #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  1,003 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
The story is not your typical murder mystery. The sleuth is not a detective, private eye, or lawyer. He's an ordinary guy with an extraordinary dog.

Jacob Martin is trying to make the best of a divorce and mid-life crisis when he gets a call at two o’clock Sunday morning from his mother. His sister has been arrested for the murder of her fourth husband, and his father is ne
Published December 29th 2012 by Smashwords Edition (first published September 28th 2012)
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Apr 08, 2013 Carrie rated it it was ok
This book was not for me, I love a good mystery. But I did not love this book.

Jake's sister, Meg has been accused of murdering her husband Mike, who just happens to be husband number 4. The media have been calling her the Black Widow.

On his way to bail her out, he winds up waking up in hospital after he, himself has gotten into an accident. The police believe that both Jake and Meg are involved in the death of Mike. So in order to clear their names, Jake has to do some detective work.

I really
Henry Simpson
Oct 31, 2012 Henry Simpson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an exceptional murder mystery, with an unlikely hero, a canine sidekick, a sister as murder suspect, an assortment of odd characters, and much local color. Protagonist Jake Martin (nickname Porky) is an unemployed software engineer and McDonalds regular who gets by on odd jobs, drinks an enormous amount of beer, and suffers from a shrinking bladder and failing eyesight. He’s generous, well-mannered, an aspiring novelist, and obviously smart—not exactly the hard-boiled sleuth one might ...more
Cynthia Rielley
Oct 18, 2012 Cynthia Rielley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished this last night. Fast read, really engaging. Good plot, nice pacing. Main character is like able, others are not but in a good way. Lots of good character development. Great first read from Mr. Houston.
Oct 08, 2015 James rated it did not like it
Shelves: dogs, partially-read
After reading "A Book to Die For," and giving it 2 stars, I said I wasn't going to read anymore books in this series. I wish I had stuck to my commitment. I gave this one a try mainly because I was looking for a dog story, but this series isn't about a dog. It's about abusing a dog, abusing alcohol, and irresponsible personal finance. I read 40% of this one and did something I very rarely do. I gave up. Fred is fed a diet consisting almost totally of McDonald's burgers and beer. He consumes beer ...more
Catherine Astolfo

There are two huge reasons to read Richard Houston’s first novel, A View to Die For, and their names are Jake and Fred. The protagonist, Jacob Martin, is witty, generous, sensuous, sweet - the sort of man females absolutely adore. But he’s a man’s man too, with an appreciative eye for women as well as a healthy love for the females in his family. He’s handy, smart, loyal, and brave. In fact, Houston builds many fabulous, complex characters in this book, even a dog, who became a "person" in my im
Marquita Herald
Jan 22, 2013 Marquita Herald rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and honestly didn’t realize it was the author’s first. The plot kept me interested from the beginning - no skipping paragraphs, which is a bad habit I have - and guessing right to the end. This is a big deal for me because I’m an avid mystery buff and pride myself in trying to tag the bad guy early on. I liked the main characters, especially Jake Martin (aka Porky), and found his dry wit charming, even if his good intentions occasionally caused him grief. Though I ...more
Shawn Hopkins
Dec 08, 2012 Shawn Hopkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great story layered with plenty of dynamic ingredients. I really enjoyed the POV (written in first person), and appreciated that he was just your normal guy caught in the midst of a complex mystery well over his head. The writing was humorous and proficient, the relationships well-defined and enjoyable. The mystery itself was illusive until the very end, and so it was hard to put down for any length of time. The atmosphere was one to get lost in, and this story definitely had its ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Sue rated it it was ok
Shelves: my-library, dog-tales
Bleh. Don't believe all the 5 star reviews--this was average at best, and all the bathroom and McDonald's references annoyed me so much I am knocking off another star for that. I have never read a book where there were so many bathroom scenes! It added nothing to the story. And poor Fred the dog deserves a better diet than McDoubles all the time. I found a lot of the so-called "hacker" stuff pretty silly and unbelievable.
Lori Curtis
May 22, 2014 Lori Curtis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


This book was interesting from the beginning .It kept me right into the book from beginning to the end.I would recommend this book to anyone who loves murder mystery books.
Deborah Milton
May 01, 2013 Deborah Milton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
Loved this book! I read it in a few days. I'm looking forward to another one of his books.
Barbara Mislan
Nov 18, 2016 Barbara Mislan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast moving and technical.. The dog is a great companion. N. The author does a great job describing roads traveled and is quite humorous. describing

What is dog is thinking. Nrea
Really good companions. Will read the next book on this series. Nthere are possibly too many characters though.
R Gary
Sep 24, 2016 R Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story ...

... decent writing. Jake is out of work, and living off savings that are nearly depleted. But, he doesn't mind traveling to Missouri from his home in Colorado to bail his sister out of jail when she is charged with murdering her husband. With sidekick Fred, a Golden Retriever, he takes on several more murders and other crimes.
Stanley McShane
May 29, 2014 Stanley McShane rated it really liked it
Raunchy guy, rough around the edges. The average American guy? One would hope not, but this single, hard-drinking, McDonald burger man from a one room cabin in Colorado goes to Missouri to help out his sister from the tight spot she's found herself in following the death of her husband. The house sits on a bluff overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks--gorgeous view--hence the title, but underneath the beauty of the home and the humidity of the land lay a chorus of characters caught in a multi-plot ...more
Elise Stone
Apr 07, 2016 Elise Stone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Engaging Sleuth with a Marvelous Sidekick

I was pleasantly surprised by this page-turning mystery. I'm fairly critical about what I read, especially with mysteries, and I've been disappointed by quite a few recently. It was refreshing to find a well-crafted story with interesting characters.

Jake Martin, former computer programmer and erstwhile handyman, heads back home with his Golden Retriever Fred when his sister is suspected of murdering her husband. He discovers there's a lot more to the s
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
DNF - no rating

Where I stopped reading: About 15% of the way through the book.

Why I stopped reading: I couldn’t finish it.

It’s really too bad, because I think Mr. Houston has some really good ideas in this story; his writing style is clean and light-hearted.

So why’d I stop? Too many unbelievable events.
The protagonist tells the cops he was talking on the phone while driving just before the accident happened — Not smart.
You don’t get put in the Intensive Care Unit with a catheter to collect urine
Kay (Brigidsmomma) Compton
this was really good, but a little strange. The preview said romance, but it wasn't really. Just a good whodunit. The Main character, Jake, goes to Missouri to help his sister out when she is arrested for the murder of her husband. She didn't do it, but did he really commit suicide? And where are the gold coins he supposedly found? There is enough other crime and larceny going around to keep things interesting, and he does meet and have a very brief fling with the neighbor lady, but not a ...more
Donna Foston
Mar 24, 2015 Donna Foston rated it it was ok
Somehow I read the second book of the series before I read this one, and I will say it is better. I would not have read the second book based on this one. This book is tedious. Very slow pace. The main character's family - mother, sister and nephew - are all demanding and entitled; none of them are likable. There are endless "jokes" about what the dog might be thinking or what he might say if he could speak. I was annoyed at the extremely poor diet supplied to the dog, which would absolutely ...more
Nov 07, 2013 Nancy rated it liked it
I decided to read this book because of the dog on the cover and I do like a good mystery. I felt the story was confusing at times, due to the timeline of the events. Jake went to help his sister, but also went because of his dad's health issues. He ended up being in everyone's business, but not his dad's. I just thought he would want to be there before he passed. I also thought there were a few too many beers drunk during the story and too many bathroom breaks. I do get that the author was ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Angie rated it liked it
3- actually or maybe 2+. Nice premise for a cozy series, but it IS a first book and is rough. One element that was especially grating is the overdone attempts to add atmosphere with details. I swear the author tells us EVERY TIME Jake or his dog Fred goes to the bathroom. And EVERY breakfast his sister cooks. Plus the people are annoying in their irresponsibility. EVERY one of them has money problems, but they eat out all the time and rink like fishes. And the bad guys are a bit too complicated ...more
Marilyn Groves
I'm holding off rating this one - better than a 3, not quite a 4.

Jacob Martin has been laid off from his computer programming job, and is trying to fill in his days and income with writing and handyman jobs. His wife is divorcing him, and he's left with his wonderful golden retriever dog. Then his sister calls him when she's been arrested for the murder of her husband, and his father is in the hospital in critical condition.

I liked Jacob and his dog. His sister annoyed me, to be honest, and Mom
Mary Ann
Oct 08, 2015 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing
How do modern book detectives differ from detectives of the past? They carry computers and have companion pets. In this case the pet is Fred, a golden retriever. The detective Jake Martin must sort through a series of suicides. The three victims include his own brother-in-law; a coin dealer and dealer’s wife, There are a few more dead bodies showing up. The deputy sheriff is sure Jake and his sister are covering up murder. Jake gets most of his clues by hacking into a neighbor’s computer. Of ...more
Diana Hockley
Mar 30, 2013 Diana Hockley rated it liked it

I bought this novel because of the photo of the gorgeous dog on the cover and as far as I am concerned, the dog was the best character of the lot! I doubt this is the fault of the author, but I just couldn't get into the plot. I had no empathy for any human character other than the main character, Jake, and about half way through, I got confused with the plot and went to the end to find out who did it.

I would try more books by this author, especially if they have a dog in them, as I really feel
Karen Lopez
Mar 06, 2015 Karen Lopez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it wasn't for the dog...

I liked the book but not sure it would have had the same appeal without the dog as a participant in the solving of the mystery. I'm not sure it would have been as entertaining without him as the characters, the humans, were not all that likeable or interesting. But that's just me - a person who loves dogs! The amount of alcohol consumed each day, each moment, was overdone and detracted from the story. Some of the tech talk was lost on me but I got through :/ it and it
Jennifer Sylvia
I enjoyed this book. I particularly enjoyed that the main character wasn't a police detective or a private investigator. I like the idea of an average citizen being clever enough to solve a mystery.

I love Golden Retrievers. I tend to be hesitant to read books with dogs in them, as it's too disturbing should something happen to them. I figured in this case it would be safe since Fred's the sidekick.

Note to readers... Don't give dogs alcohol. It can be toxic to them. Cheeseburgers aren't ideal as
Barbara Alexander
Jul 31, 2014 Barbara Alexander rated it really liked it
The fact that I just visited the Lake of the Ozarks and live in St. Louis enhanced the author's story for me. His readable style keeps the reader involved in the mystery, pursuing the killer or killers much as the main character and his "guard dog" Fred. As an English instructor, I found the grammatical errors distracting, but that would not keep me from being eager to read the next book in the series
A widow who is more concerned about the insurance money than about being a suspect in her husband's murder without a semblance of grief. Her brother the detective who has sex with a married woman involved in the case and who spends more time eating and feeding his dog at McDonald's or going or taking his dog to the bathroom than detecting. A story just interesting enough to keep me from abandoning it.
Carol Mcgrath
It was a nice story.

The story was okay. There are numerous editing problems though. There were times that the same word appeared before and after a word, I.e. to keep to. If you're Bloomingdale a story that's okay then this is the book for you. You have a brother trying to solve a murder, a dog that likes beer, a sister who has no concept of money and several people who may have committed the murder.
Mar 08, 2016 Mjuneb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Book that Keeps you Guessing

The writer kept me off balance through the whole book. It kept my interest and didn't follow through with the violence most authors would add to the story. All the main characters are off-dysfunctional families, non-working, living beyond their means-yet they keep you reading. There are no easy fixes or brilliant deductions on the part of Jake, but I couldn't stop until I found out how it ended.
Oct 21, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading A View To Die For by Richard Houston. The plot and characters are well developed with just the right touch of foreshadowing. The story is told in first person which is a difficult format for many writers. In this book, the first person narrative was well done for I felt as if Jake was actually telling me the story--a feeling that doesn't happen very often.
Mary Rowe
Interesting Pacing....

I did not care for the protagonist's sister; her financial priorities or lack thereof reminded me too much of my own! The main character is a saint in many ways, enviable family dynamic going on. Wish I had a brother who cared about me that much. Whodunit and whydunit was nicely crafted.
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Richard is working on his third career. His first was as a carpenter and roofer for twenty years while working his way through college. With a BS in Math he spent the next twenty-five years as a successful software engineer by working on the Space Shuttle at both Vandenberg AFB, and Johnson Space Center. He then went on to start Master Mind SofTools where he developed software for fortune 500 ...more
More about Richard Houston...

Other Books in the Series

To Die For series (3 books)
  • A Book to Die for (To Die For series, #2)
  • A Treasure to Die For

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