Thursday, January 11, 2024

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Northwoods, by Amy Pease {ends 1/20}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

“You look like shit, Eli.”

“Good morning to you, too, Dan.” Eli had left his car windows open last night in the rain, and he realized just now that his backside was damp from the soggy, musty upholstery. He pulled his phone out of his back pocket and crammed it into the breast pocket of his shirt, where it sagged and wobbled stupidly in the thin fabric. On the drive here, he had fantasized about never having to see Alyssa Mason again. At least she was gracious enough not to text him this morning to see how he was doing. He still had no idea why she’d covered for him last night.

“What have I done now, Deputy?” Dan leaned back in the chair and stretched his legs in front of him. Despite his skinniness, he had a round face and wide shoulders that hinted at the meaty guy he had been years ago. He was just a couple of years older than Eli, early forties, but time had not been kind to him. 

Eli used to be an excellent investigator—can he pull it together again for a murdered teenage boy and the boy’s missing friend? It may not be the small town crime that usually happens in Shaky Lake.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Northwoods, by Amy Pease {ends 1/20}
Eli North is not okay.

His drinking is getting worse by the day, his emotional wounds after a deployment to Afghanistan are as raw as ever, his marriage and career are over, and the only job he can hold down is with the local sheriff’s department. And that’s only because the sheriff is his mother—and she’s overwhelmed with small town Shaky Lake’s dwindling budget and the fallout from the opioid epidemic. The Northwoods of Wisconsin may be a vacationer’s paradise, but amidst the fishing trips and campfires and Paul Bunyan festivals, something sinister is taking shape.

When the body of a teenage boy is found in the lake, it sets in motion an investigation that leads Eli to a wealthy enclave with a violent past, a pharmaceutical salesman, and a missing teenage girl. Soon, Eli and his mother, along with a young FBI agent, are on the hunt for more than just a killer.

If Eli solves the case, could he finally get the shot at redemption he so desperately needs? Or will answers to this dark case elude him and continue to bring destruction to the Northwoods?

This book definitely felt like the first of a series, and the reader is left wondering what’s next when this case is solved. The story starts out with Eli drunk more often than not, running from his memories of war and his failure to readjust to his previous life. His mom, Marge, is the police chief who has given him a job to try and help him get back on his feet, but she spends a lot of her time and emotional energy covering for him and trying to convince them all that he’s just having a rough patch. 

When Eli finds a dead boy in a docked boat while responding to a noise complaint, their little police department of four employees really does not seem like enough to handle such a serious situation. Once a missing girl is added to the mix, the FBI is called in to collaborate. Luckily the FBI agent, Alyssa, seems the perfect addition to their awkward little cast of characters. With their few leads going in opposite directions, it’s soon apparent that the crime they think they’re investigating may only be covering up for an even more devious network of trouble.

Overall, the book had a few unexpected twists and turns, but the characters were especially rich with their own back stories and experiences. The story earned 4 out of 5 stars with just a few loose ends that would be great to hear more about in follow-up. This book would come recommended to those who enjoy crime thrillers, police procedurals, and small town stories.

{click here to purchase on Amazon - affiliate link}

Becki Bayley is a wife and mom who enjoys living a predictable life with her family, her cats, and her books. Check out more from her on her blog,


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Northwoods!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Saturday, January 20th, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be notified via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Northwoods, by Amy Pease


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