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Loon Lake series still gripping mystery

The pain woke you up at about 3 a.m., your jaw throbbing with pain all the way to the top of your head, white-hot like an icicle through your cranium.

You eased out of bed, suppressing a howl and wondering how can a small quarter-inch-square bit of enamel and dentin bring a big person like you to your knees. And why do toothaches always happen during off-hours?

It's not your dentist's fault. He works hard to keep your smile sparkly because that his job. But in the new novel "Dead Renegade" by Victoria Houston, Doctor Paul Osborne also has a part-time gig: he's a deputy for the Loon Lake police department, and he's just had a brush with death.

When Doc Osborne's daughter, Erin, asked her father for help in locating an antique dentist's cabinet in the basement of a local shop, she figured Doc could identify what she was seeking. As one of the town's dentists (now retired), Doc had spent years looking down in the mouths of his neighbors. He would know what one of those cabinets might look like. Heck, he probably had one of them once.

But Doc didn't have his mind on any old piece of furniture. Lewellyn Ferris, Loon Lake's Chief of Police and the woman Doc loved, was going to some soiree and he wasn't invited. It bit at his consciousness and he fretted, his mind on Lew. So when he found the skeleton wrapped up in a moldy old rug, it startled him some.

Up beyond town, Curt Calverson was on the phone, as usual, and pacing back and forth on his deck. It seemed to C.J., Curt's toothsome wife, that Curt was always making calls and "moving money", but she didn't know exactly what kind of business he was in. When she asked, she got a backhand in answer.

And in a nearby, tumbledown house with peeling paint and a broken concrete sidewalk, Edna Shradtke welcomed her son home from prison. Few knew that Bobby Shradtke had been paroled; if they had, they would have hollered about it. Bobby Shradtke, the oldest of the notorious Shradtke boys, had been at the root of a lot of trouble in Loon Lake over the years.

Now, on behalf of little brother Ron, Bobby had some business to attend.

Is finding a good mystery like pulling teeth? Then relax, sit back, grab "Dead Renegade" and open it wide.

In this, the tenth book in the Loon Lake mystery series, author Victoria Houston brings back her major characters and adds a few to the mixture.