Cover Image: Hidden in the Pines

Hidden in the Pines

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Member Reviews

This is the second installment in the Lew Ferris Mystery series. This is a spin-off from the Loon Lake series with many of the same characters. This series is told from Lew Ferris’ perspective. I have read the first book, ‘Wolf Hollow’, and I enjoyed this book more. I think that enjoyment has more to do with continuing with the series than anything else. There is more familiarity with characters, setting, and the author’s writing style. This book is a straightforward police procedural investigation with emphasis on small town and outdoor (fly fishing) activities to  add depth to the story and its characters. The story is well told and keeps you interested until the end. A solid addition to the series.
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Hidden in the Pines is the second book of a tie-in series to Loon Lake by Victoria Houston. Released 10th Jan 2023 by Crooked Lane Books, it's 288 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. Paperback due out in Dec 2022. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

The author is a competent storyteller and the book is redolent with scenes of small town life and rural living. She's clearly familiar with the outdoorsy life and it adds a great deal of verisimilitude to the story. The action is mostly straightforward; there aren't a lot of twists and turns and few red-herrings to confuse along the way.

Protagonist Lew Ferris is just starting her job as the newly-elected sheriff of McBride county in the Wisconsin northwoods, and she's already dealing with a tragic drowning death/murder? with creepy parallels to a case from 3 decades before, money laundering with dangerous potential to harm the people she loves, as well as heaping helpings of sexism and an entrenched "old boys" network. No time for trout fishing in her near future.

This is a standalone series and it doesn't seem necessary to be familiar with the author's other series to follow along here. It's a procedural(ish) mystery and the denouement and resolution were satisfying and complete. This is book 2, and there are 19 books extant in her other series, so it might be a good candidate for a binge read. 

Three and a half stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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Hidden in the Pines is a great continuation of the Lew Ferris series. She is now the new sheriff in town and she is dealing with a case that is, in her opinion, is being mishandled. The parents of the young drowning victim agree and things get complicated. Add Judith, their new hire, who has been haunted by the death of her sister fifty years ago. Judith was only eight at the time and now she wants to get some answers. Hence her desire to work for Lew. The stage is set for a very engaging police procedural and I enjoyed it. The setting the atmosphere, all of it supported a fine cast of characters and a very good mystery to untangle. If you haven't read the first entry in this series, Wolf Hollow, no worries, Hidden in the Pines works well as a stand alone. 
My thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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DNF

I made it through the first few chapters, and it was difficult to get caught up in the story.  The writing was too choppy for me. I felt the story had a good concept, and I really enjoyed that part of it.  I just could not deal with adjectives stuffed in just to add extra words without the flow and rhythm of the words which is what as a reader I want.  I just could not do it.
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This was an engaging story and number 2 in the series. It was predictable at times but it stilled held my attention.
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I finished Hidden in the Pines by Victoria Houston a few days ago. This is the second book in the Lew Ferris series, however it was perfectly fine as a standalone. I did not read the first novel but she does a great job keeping the reader up to date with the character storylines involved. 

I purposely chose this book because I live in Wisconsin and used to vacation up north. I was very familiar with the areas mentioned but Victoria is very atmospheric in her writing style so anyone could imagine the lush waterways, fishing spots and forest areas we have. The story begins very captivatingly with a mystery of a girl’s death. In the beginning paragraphs the younger sister (Judith) who overhears the the officer at the door, understands enough to know that something doesn’t feel right about how everything was handled. So 50 years later, when she’s about to retire, she comes back to do something about it. 

Meanwhile, there’s a new sheriff in town and she doesn’t take crap from anybody! But underneath her exterior is a soft, loving teddy bear. Judith finds her way into Lew’s office, and the rest, as they say, is history! Current and cold cases are solved, cozy mysteries are uncovered. The author gives us a crescendo and chase through the woods, with the end satisfying enough while still letting you know that another one is coming. The storyline for the most part, just wasn’t at my speed. But I’ll be honest, life up north in Wisconsin is like this. So my 3 star rating is just for my personal taste for cozy mysteries—they are not my thing.
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Hidden in the Pines by Victoria Houston is a highly recommended procedural and the second installment of the Lew Ferris series.

Lew Ferris is now the newly-elected Sheriff of McBride County, in the Wisconsin Northwoods. The official cause of death of a teenage girl is being questioned by her parents and Lew, but Alan Stern, Chief of the Deer Haven Police Department and a subordinate to Lew, has ruled it accidental. It appears that there may be some interference in the case, which has some suspicious similarities to a death from years ago.

Newly retired Judith Hanson has returned to the area and been hired to help Dani in the sheriff's office, but what Judith would really like to discover is the truth behind her sister's death fifty years ago. Adding to the stress, Doc Osborne's daughter Mallory learns that there is some suspicious activity being carried out by wealthy local Matt Brinkerhoff. Also, it seems Dani may have her eyes set on Ray, the local fishing guide.

Wolf Hollow, the first Lew Ferris novel in the series was very enjoyable and the second book, Hidden in the Pines, is a worthy follow up to it. These novels are akin to cozy mysteries, only set in Wisconsin and feature a lot of talk about fly fishing. There is enough information provided in the narrative that you can easily enjoy both books as a stand-alone read, but they do compliment each other.

This is a satisfying and pleasing series. Although the mysteries are very straightforward and not extremely complicated, they will hold your attention throughout the novel. With a quick pace and exciting action, the investigations logically follow the clues and discoveries which is a plus in any procedural.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley.
The review will be published on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Edelweiss, and Amazon.
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Read this as much for the characters (and to be honest, the fishing) as for the mysteries. Lew Ferris is one unlucky Sheriff at the moment. She's dealing with other law enforcement officers who resent her a coroner she does not believe is competent, the drowning death of a teen and the arrival to town of the sister of another girl who died thirty years ago. Oh, and there's a money laundering case as well. There is perhaps too much compressed into this novel but that's the way life works sometimes. The Loon Lake setting is atmospheric (and provides opportunity for digressions about fishing). Don't worry if you missed the first one - this will be fine as a standalone. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.
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I enjoyed reading this mystery.  The descriptions of the Wisconsin Northwoods made me want to visit, particularly the descriptions of the woods with their fall colors, and the streams with their abundant fish and the clouds of insects hovering over the water.  The story has a rural feel to it, although it has its share of corruption and secrets.    

The story is set in a county in the Wisconsin Northwoods where winter is a dangerous season and fishing is an art to be studied and practiced lifelong.  Lew Ferris is the new sheriff of McBride County.  She is reviewing files when she reads about the recent drowning of a teenaged girl, that was categorized as an accidental death by the coroner.  It sounds off to her, and she knows that the elected coroner does not have a medical background.  Lew finds a way to legally request an autopsy and the result that comes back is murder.  She has now made enemies of the coroner and the Chief of Police in the town that the death occurred in.  Then she finds another years old file where another girl's death was ruled a drowning.  

That girl's sister was a young child when her sister died at camp so many years ago, but she has never forgotten what she overheard from her parents.  Judith had applied and been accepted for a job at the new sheriff's office in the hopes of being able to find out more about her sister's death.  I was pleased that Judith shares her suspicions with her coworkers. 

There is also another mystery that involves art, money and murder.  A millionaire who collects valuable artwork lives in a nearly mansion, where years ago another young woman was found dead.  Now a young woman who runs an art gallery is visiting and may have found out too much.  

I received an e-arc of this book for review from the publisher Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley, and voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
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The second of the Lew Ferris series, Hidden in the Pine by Victoria Houston is a rural sheriff saga. It begins with a flashback, when Judith learnt about her older sister’s murder. Still grieving and investigating, fifty years on, Judith quits her job and takes an admin-assistant role at McBride County Sherriff’s Department. Newly-elected Sheriff Lew Ferris investigates the drowning death of a teenage girl, with her belligerent boss and an incompetent coroner having ruled it an accident. Having not read the first book was no disadvantage, as there was plenty of focus on all characters to such an extent the crime seemed secondary. A pleasant crime story with an almost folksy feel that was an enjoyable three stars gentle crime read mystery. With thanks to Crooked Lane Books and the author, for an uncorrected advanced review copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given.
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I found this book to be an enjoyable read. It os not my most favourite type of crime thriller as i found it a little slow paced but i enjoyed the setting.
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Lew is just starting off as sheriff and immediately has to deal with a death of a young woman that was handled completely wrong. Turns out this case has a connection to something that happened years ago, but we don't figure out exactly how until Judith turns up asking questions about her sister that was killed. Her parents spent years lying to her about what happened, and now all she wants is the truth. This was the case I was most interested in finding out more about.
I loved that this book was filled with strong female characters, it was also full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.
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This is book 2 in the series. and Lew is up to new tricks, as she has been elected to Sheriff, and now runs the entire county. She is still trying to settle in, as she realizes one of her under chiefs may have gotten a case wrong. Confronting him goes as expected, and soon Lew is digging deep to see what happened. It takes Lew's trusted few to help her solve this crime, and bring to light long-held secrets. This is a new series that is not only fun but a quick page-turner. You'll love this new series especially if you're looking for something new this holiday season!
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Hidden in the pines by Victoria Houston is the second book in this new series but with the old characters Lew Ferris and Doc Osborne. I really like these series and the atmosphere is wonderful. There is one thing though that bothers me and that is the fact that Houston has lost control. The timeline is so out of whack that despite the number of winters Lew and Doc has been an item it has only been 3 years! In this book she even involves a new coroner that has some of the bad habits that the current is supposed to have, that means that she has divided one coroner into two. Apart from that I love this book, we have murder and mayhem as usual with a little fishing in between and the usual characters are all there. I like the fact that Lew now is the sheriff of all three counties and I'm looking forward to what this will bring. I will continue reading this series despite the small things that disturbs me because it's a wonderful crew of characters and I enjoy the setting. Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for letting me read this book.
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I was intrigued by the title and cover of this book as it reminded me a lot of nothern Maine.  The book started off slow for me, but really picked up in the last 100 pages and I couldn't put the book down and stayed up late to finish it. It's a quick read if you're looking for a thriller to read.
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I really enjoyed this novel.  The rural Wisconsin setting gives a new spin on a police procedural story, and the strong female characters, both the sheriff Lew and Judith who can't let the long-ago death of her sister rest.
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Where to start! Edge of your seat thrilling. This is a page turner.
The world building is incredible. We connect with Judith immediately. Her tragic story stays with you. It stayed with her for almost 60 years!
The death of her sister that her parents felt she was too young to know the truth about has haunted her since she was 8 years old.
Now retired, her own daughter wants her to move south to be closer to family and away from bad memories that haunt her.
A chance glimpse at a job posting changes all those plans.
This is such a great story. Even if police procedurals are not your thing, or true(ish) crime, you will find yurself staying up late to see what hapens. Can evil be generational?
I don't want to give the story away but grab this book! It will pull you in and you will appreciate the characters. Not all cops are good, not all bad guys are the worst. Sometimes the truth takes digging.
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Victoria Houston’s Lake Loon series morphs into Lew Ferris Mysteries and keeps the same cast of engaging characters. More focused on the newly elected Sheriff Ferris, the shift is a comfortable change of pace. 

The new sheriff deals with a coroner ill-equipped to do his job, a mishandled death that turns out to be murder, and a new employee chasing the 30-year-old cold case of her sister’s murder. 

Ms. Houston’s cozy mysteries offer intriguing yet comfortable reads. Hidden in the Pines is a solid addition to her many novels about Doc Osborne, Sheriff Ferris, and fishing guide Ray Pradt.
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This book was such a treat! Leaving in the UK, I am fascinated with mystery books set in beautiful picturesque backdrops where you feel you are there. This story being set  in the  northern Wisconsin woods was simply pure pleasure. The lead character being a female sheriff is just spot on! You also get some really interesting insights on fly fishing all whilst following a really good mystery plot. Absolutely stunning...
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Victoria Houston's Hidden Pines revolves around Lew Ferris... a newly elected female sheriff in northern Wisconsin. Lew is supported by a fantastic cast of characters including Doc, her significant other, Dani, her can-do-it-all assistant, and Judith, a retired professional and newcomer to the department. This book intertwines several mysteries very neatly. Lew is also an avid fly-fisherwoman, and the descriptions of fly fishing and the northern Wisconsin woods are spot on. Looking forward to more from this series.
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