Thursday, December 03, 2020


Late this week, my novel Murder In the North Woods will be published by Level Best Books. It is set in Langlade County, Wisconsin in a fictious town.

The story involves a conflicted woman, (Laura Goode) who solves cyber-crimes. At a meeting in Chicago, the CIO of Great Northern Shoe Company approaches Laura about a job working undercover in DuBois, Wisconsin to determine who is sabotaging their Y2K project. She accepts, happy to leave Houston where she must decide between her inattentive husband and her homicide cop boyfriend. She arrives in DuBois, to find that the man who hired her has been murdered. The CEO says she has a job but he can’t help her. She goes undercover as the Y2K project administrator, but nothing goes well.

 The employees are outraged that the manufacturing will soon be done in Asia. Important documents disappear and the consulting firm seems unconcerned. She is discovered snooping at night and barely escapes arrest. Now persona non grata, too many people know her real identity. Laura has made friends with “the flirty thirties,” and a female Episcopal priest who breaks all the stereotypes. Her adopted cat is kidnapped. She travels from boardroom to barroom attempting to discover who is sabotaging the project. Is it the fired network manager or the disgruntled computer manager? Could it even be the consultants? Or one of the executives? Laura’s boyfriend and husband both discover where she is and visit on alternate weekends, creating more angst and gossip.

A local lowlife is the victim of a second murder. Working with a hacker from her Houston company, Laura begins to accumulate facts and information about the consulting firm. Jack, her cop boyfriend, bonds with the local police and feeds her information. Laura questions everyone and important clues appear. The lowlife, who claimed to has won money at the nearby casino has apparently a thriving blackmail business going. Laura is sure she has the answers when the police arrest the head consultant. “Wrong man,” she exclaims in the hearing of an entire meeting. Now she is in danger from her suspected killer. The Labor Day company outing becomes the raft trip from hell, providing an exciting climax. Having decided to leave both boyfriend and husband, Laura wraps up her life in DuBois and returns to Houston.


This novel resonates with me on so many levels. The locale of the Northwoods with its little taverns, resorts, friendly people, lonely landscapes and lakes and trees. Even “rye and diet.” I created Green Heron Lake, Nub’s Pub, The Lake Club, and the Coffee Pot Café, and wrote about them until they were completely real to me. The same with the mansion on the lake and the humble cottage next door. Sacred Flames Casino, and the boathouses, too. The people waving from the pontoon boats, and the thwock of the tennis balls at the club.

 I worked in the shoe industry for many years and understand well that moving manufacturing off-shore was a blow to many of the businesses and many moves did not have a successful conclusion.

My son went to camp and then worked at camps in the north woods for many years and I loved the stories he told about the people and the taverns and life away from the big city. His stories finally made be believe there could be a book there. 

 Readers who like local color, traditional mysteries and cozies, or just a fun read would be an audience. There is some swearing and (non-graphic) sex.


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