Former US Marine Jess Winslow reenters civilian life a new widow, with little more to her name than a broken-down house, a medical discharge for PTSD, and a loyal dog named Lucy. The only thing she actually cares about is that dog, a black-and-white pit bull mix who helps her cope with the devastating memories of her time in Afghanistan.
After fifteen years — nearly half his life — in state prison, Mason Burke owns one set of clothes, a wallet, and a photo of Lucy, the service dog he trained while behind bars. Seeking a fresh start, he sets out for Deception Cove, Washington, where the dog now lives. As soon as Mason knocks on Jess’s door, he finds himself in the middle of a standoff between the widow and the deputy county sheriff. When Jess’s late husband piloted his final “fishing” expedition, he stole and stashed a valuable package from his drug dealer associates. Now the package is gone, and the sheriff’s department has seized Jess’s dearest possession: her dog. Unless Jess turns over the missing goods, Lucy will be destroyed.
The last thing Mason wants is to be dragged back into the criminal world. The last thing Jess wants is to trust a stranger. But neither of them can leave a friend, the only good thing in either of their lives, in danger. To rescue Lucy, they’ll have to forge an uneasy alliance. And to avoid becoming collateral damage in someone else’s private war, they have to fight back — and find a way to conquer their doubts and fears.
Everyone is an ex-something. And in thrillers, protagonists usually have conflicts with that past. Is it motivation for revenge? Redemption?
Mason is the ex-con without strong ties to his family, but wants to see something work in his life. And that’s Lucy.
Jess is the ex-Marine and widower. She’s home now and tangled in her dead husband’s smuggling plans. Will she accept help?
Jack Reacher. Mare Sheehan (LOVE that show). And the rest of the complex, wounded characters. They get up every morning with purpose. And that was the draw for me with Deception Cove. Oh, and the action! It does not stop. Oh, and the setting. The coast of Washington with it’s sudden storms and dangerous tides… not to mention the small towns. Laukkenan has captured it brilliantly.
Yes. It may be predictable at times, but it was a perfect weekend read. If you have a hankering for a pair of self-made buddy detectives with an adorable canine, this one is for you.