Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dead Angler (A Loon Lake Mystery, #1)” as Want to Read:
Dead Angler (A Loon Lake Mystery, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dead Angler

(A Loon Lake Mystery #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,485 ratings  ·  152 reviews
In Wisconsin's Northwoods, fishing is a way of life -- and when the muskies are biting, life couldn't be better. But when Doc Osborne catches more than he bargained for, he winds up in the middle of a murder mystery -- and only Chief of Police Lew Ferris can get him out of it.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Berkley
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 Angler, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dead Angler

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,485 ratings  ·  152 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dead Angler (A Loon Lake Mystery, #1)
Bobby Underwood
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a warm and friendly cozy-leaning mystery which takes place in Loon Lake, Wisconsin. Those who love to fish, either "dancing the fly" or musky fishing, will certainly have fun reading this very good mystery with lots of Wisconsin atmosphere. While it is not necessary to be much of a fisherman to like this series, enthusiasts will probably enjoy it more than others.

Loon Lake is the kind of town where the local MacDonald's isn't just a place to meet in the morning for coffee, but a clearing
Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it
First Sentence: Dr. Osborne struggled for balance in the waist-high waters of the roiling Prairie River

Retired dentist and widower Doc Osborn decides to rekindle his love of fly fishing with the help of fishing instructor, and town sheriff, “Lew” Ferris. What they don’t expect to find is the body of a well-dressed woman who has had all her dental fillings removed. Enlisting Doc, and his friend Roy, to help, Lew is determined to find the killer.

Houston perfectly describes fly fishing and the na
Jul 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
More Local Flavor Than a Friday Night Fish Fry
This is the first story I’ve read by Northwoods author, Victoria Houston. Reading it while surrounded by the settings she so colorfully and accurately describes added to my enjoyment of the experience. It’s a themed murder mystery that anyone with a remote interest in fishing—particularly fly-fishing—will savor for the knowledgeable references to the sport and those who participate in it.

The main characters are very well drawn and highly likable. Osb
Marilyn Groneng
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It will never make it to the New York Times Best Seller List but it is just a FUN summer read! In fact, I am reading the entire series. My fishing family is getting quite impressed by my new-found fishing knowledge!
May 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
I got this for free on my Kindle. The writing is terrible and the story is dumb. Even in a small town, the chief of police wouldn't let a retired dentist walk on to a murder investigation and act as medical examiner. Are you kidding me? I'd love to be the lawyer acting for the defence on this one. And please, can she write LOON LAKE a few thousand more times? I'm not sure that I quite understood that this was in LOON LAKE, and that LOON LAKE was a small town, and LOON LAKE, LOON LAKE, LOON LAKE. ...more
Feb 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Add this to my burgeoning list of "hobby" mysteries. Houston's been writing these fly-fishing mysteries for a decade now: what took me so long? Female police chief for small resort town, retired, recovering-alcoholic dentist, and free-wheeling grave digger: what a team! I enjoyed the camaraderie, the fishing details, and the little touches that added depth. Much the same mood as a Diane Mott Davidson--but people are fishing instead of cooking. Very boomerish!
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun to read muder mystery set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I enjoyed reading about the location, because the author captured it so well.

A little predictable but not the whole plot.

Recommended to me by Jane.
I'll probably come back to this author.
Dr. Paul Osborne is a dentist in Loon Lake, Wisconsin, a small town that supports itself on the spending habits of tourists who love to fish and on the wages from a paper mill. Taking early retirement from his practice, Osborne had intended to spend his golden years occupied with his most enjoyable hobbies, hunting and fishing. It had not been his intention to become, without warning, a widower. And after his wife’s death, steeped in grief, he became a flaming alcoholic.

Now the grief that sent h
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable series.

Kindle Unlimited, listen & read
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was slow to start. I even put it down, read two other books and then picked it back up again, since it was... there....
I have to admit: It was not the books fault! I had the wrong attitude when I first picked it up. Once I found the books "voice" it all fell into place and I started loving every minute of it. I could not put it down.

I could hear the Minnesota accent of the characters. It made them more "real" , more believable, sweeter.

I do have to say there were rather lots of mistak
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
First book in the series; first book read by the author. I will be honest and say this was a book I could not finish. Found the characters irritating, the swearing as well as the time in a bar/strip club was unnecessary. Glimmer of hope in the forensics/dental information. Please write more about fishing or an actual mystery.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book! I live in WI and it made me feel like I am in the book and these characters are my neighbors. I have friends, family and neighbors that talk like that and think.
Christine PNW
Wisconsin! Done with the North Woods - sadly!
I heard the author do a presentation about her mystery series several years ago at a local book festival. Then I picked up the Kindle edition of this story a year or so ago when it was a freebie. I finally read it when it was chosen for a summer mystery book group.

It was an enjoyable read. The small town Wisconsin setting seemed quite authentic from the older guys hanging out at McDonald's at breakfast time to the just-out-of-town strip club. I'd be interested in knowing whether there still are
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot about fishing, so a little different from the usual setting.

Retired dentist, Paul Osborne, lost his wife 18 months ago and turned to alcohol. He turned his life around and is finding life worth living again, especially as we see that in later years his wife was not exactly a paragon.

Paul discovers that the local sheriff, Lew Ferris, loves fishing just as much as he does. She deputizes him when she needs his dental expertise with a corpse they discover while fishing. Paul discovers that de
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2018
I wanted to read this book, even though mystery is not a genre I usually read, because it was set in Wisconsin. I have always wanted to live in a small Wisconsin town, so reading about it seems like the next best thing. I do not like to fish, although I don't mind reading about it (A River Runs Through It was and EXCELLENT story), but I kind of took offense to the book's portrayal of women as either money grubbing bitches or make-less fisherwomen. It seems to me that books written by female auth ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meh. Full of unlikely situations and coincidences.

Plus, how can a dentist be a forensic pathologist? I know, I know--he only looks at the teeth. But later in the book he pronounces a cause of death for someone as if he were the M.E. Things like that bother me.

And don't get me started on the shoddy police tactics of the female sheriff/dentist's love interest, who, for instance, takes time off to fish while telling the main suspect that she'll "be around in the morning" to investigate the possibl
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: wplc-holdings
First of a series, wanted to read after plunging into the middle and being satisfied but not thrilled by that story. This one had a not-too-predictable plot and solution, characters who were more interesting because less was taken for granted (and more described about them) than the later book. Low key, interesting but not thrilling, enough info about trout and muskie fishing to sink a boat - either like it for the detail or skim over it knowing you aren't missing the plot.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Lessons from the book.

1. Rich people are shallow, greedy, and evil.
2. Poor people are deep, kind, and live life on a higher plain.
3. The sight of a gun in the back of a truck is a scary thing to a northwoods outdoorsmen.
4. Trout dont bite in the afternoon. They only bite dry flies at 9:30pm when its dark.
5. A 63 yr old retired dentist must travel everywhere with the police chief on murder investigations for the feeblest of reasons.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it liked it
The author spent a lot of time on description that I didn't find compelling or authentic. Because the main character was a man, I felt the flowery nature wasn't realistic.

I also felt it was a little too dark for a cozy mystery. It was interesting and kept my attention (which it only grabbed about 3/4 of the way through), but it didn't have the light easiness I have come to expect in a cozy.

Weird that a vegan even tried this book, I know...but I believe people are more than their actions...loved the descriptions of nature and had some funny bits, but I really did not like the overall story...or the ending...hard to say more without giving anything away....not that I recommend reading it....
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the plot and characters in the book. However, it really needed to be proofread! It drove me crazy to see the word "musky" instead of "muskie", which is the nickname for a muskellunge (a fish found in Northern waters). Also, there were many times when words such as "the" or "a" were skipped. I'll probably read the next in the series because I did like the characters.
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I'm not an angler by any means, but I enjoyed this mystery surrounding a body found in a river. The protagonist is a retired dentist whose dental knowledge and familiarity with townspeople/former patients helps him get to the bottom of the situation. His attraction to the local police chief (female) adds interest to the story. Would read more in the series.
Anne Egbert
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
It is so annoying when proof readers and editors let sloppy work get by. It always distracts from the story. And even worse, for this book, the story was not riveting. It was ok, but I sure will not be in a hurry to read any more of the series.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting read. I liked it well enough to want to read book 2 in the series. Good characters...sort of an ongoing story with the characters so that I want to see what happens to the people in the next book. It's been a couple of months since I read it. A quick read.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book was fine in many ways. Just seemed long when its not. I think I read to many mysteries.

I picked this book for the location and surrounding subject matter anyways so. Lakes, Loons, fishing, wildlife, nature. I like that background as much as the mystery in a book.
Kelly Stoudt
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
New author to me, and a quick read. Enjoyed the interplay between characters and was surprised by some events.
Teri Pre
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
Surprisingly good! I got this book free back in 2012 and I wish I would have given it a try sooner. Interesting characters, good story line. Hopefully, book 2 will be just as good.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most excellent 5 star read! this is my new favorite series...:)
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would not normally have chosen a book with a fishing theme, but this one fits the clues in a Good Reads Cozy Mystery challenge, and I really enjoyed the characters.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Trickster's Point (Cork O'Connor, #12)
  • The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #1)
  • Fresh Doubt (Ingrid Skyberg FBI Thriller, #1)
  • A Spy in the House (The Agency, #1)
  • Parlez-Vous Murder? (Stranded in Provence #1)
  • Windigo Island (Cork O'Connor, #14)
  • No Limit (Nadia Wolf #1)
  • A View to Die For (To Die For series, #1)
  • Tamarack County (Cork O'Connor, #13)
  • Don't Ever Forget (Adler and Dwyer, #1)
  • The Body at the Tower (The Agency, #2)
  • Gators and Garters (Miss Fortune Mystery #18)
  • Keep Calm and Carry On, Children
  • Secondhand Secrets (Miss Main Street #1)
  • Inspector Proby's Christmas
  • Louisiana Hotshot (Talba Wallis, #1)
  • Manitou Canyon (Cork O'Connor, #15)
  • Blood Orchids (Lei Crime, #1)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

A Loon Lake Mystery (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Dead Creek (A Loon Lake Mystery #2)
  • Dead Water (A Loon Lake Mystery, #3)
  • Dead Frenzy (A Loon Lake Mystery, #4)
  • Dead Hot Mama (A Loon Lake Mystery,#5)
  • Dead Jitterbug (A Loon Lake Mystery, #6)
  • Dead Boogie (A Loon Lake Mystery, #7)
  • Dead Madonna (A Loon Lake Mystery, #8)
  • Dead Hot Shot (A Loon Lake Mystery, #9)
  • Dead Renegade (A Loon Lake Mystery, #10)
  • Dead Deceiver (A Loon Lake Mystery, #11)

Related Articles

When two complete opposites meet—one who believes in soul mates and one who doesn’t—will they fall in love despite their differences?   A nod...
28 likes · 5 comments