Review: Northwoods by Amy Pease

NorthwoodsNorthwoods by Amy Pease
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Northwoods is a debut Crime Thriller/Mystery from author, Amy Pease. I love checking out new authors and am glad that I picked this one up.

Set in the small resort town of Shaky Lake, Wisconsin, this mystery circles around a well-known crisis in America, the opioid epidemic. Eli North is a deputy in Shaky Lake, whose own life is a bit shaky at the moment.

Eli, after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, turns to alcohol as a way to cope with his overwhelming PTSD. As expected, it has disastrous effects.

His marriage is over and he’s had to take a job working for his Mom, the only person who would actually hire him and keep him on, putting up with his less than savory habits. His mother just so happens to be the Sheriff of Shaky Lake…

The mystery begins with a teenage boy’s body being found in a boat, and a teenage girl being reported missing. As a resort town, the lake draws a lot of outsiders, so solving crimes like these aren’t always as simple as it may seem and this one is anything but simple.

We follow Eli, and the rest of the small department, as they try to figure out this mess and set their beloved town to rights. They’re also joined by FBI Agent, Alyssa Mason.

I enjoyed this, it’s a good story. I liked how nuanced the mystery was and the setting was great. I live in a resort town, so I totally understand the vibes and the different challenges that these characters were facing there.

I also tend to enjoy main characters like Eli; a little damaged, going through some major struggles, but still doing their best and trying to do the right thing.

I liked how Pease chose to make his Mom the Sheriff. I thought that was a interesting dynamic, particularly as it influenced the investigation. The Department is small and they have limited resources. It made them feel like more than coworkers; they were all in this together.

I’m not sure really, I guess I haven’t looked into it, whether or not this is going to be a series, but I would definitely be picking up the next book, if there is another one.

I feel like Pease did a great job here setting the foundation for what could be a fantastic, gritty, page-turning Police Procedural Mystery series.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Caz Frear’s Cat Kinsella series. This reminded me a lot of that, as far as the overall tone and having a compelling protagonist struggling with personal issues.

Further, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Crime Thrillers that examine the underbelly of our society, and aren’t afraid to really dig into why some of these societal issues may exist, or where they stem from.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I am glad to have been introduced to Amy Pease. I’m looking forward to picking up whatever she writes next!

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