cover image Lone Jack Trail

Lone Jack Trail

Owen Laukkanen. Mulholland, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-44875-8

Laukkanen brilliantly integrates psychological depth into a suspenseful whodunit plot in his superior sequel to 2019’s Deception Cove. Jess Winslow has returned from military service in Afghanistan deeply traumatized by her experience, but she’s found some solace through her service dog, Lucy, and her boyfriend, Mason Burke, an ex-con who spent more than a decade behind bars for murder. Winslow is also settling into a new job as a deputy in Washington’s Makah County under a new sheriff, who has taken over for an ineffective predecessor. Meanwhile, Brock Boyd, a hockey star who went to prison for illegal dog-fighting, has returned to the area. Boyd gets into a fistfight with Burke after Boyd mistreats Lucy, whom he discovered tied to a railing outside a restaurant where Burke was inside ordering food to go. The altercation ends with Burke on the losing end. Days later, Boyd’s corpse, with a bullet wound in its head, washes up near town, making Burke the prime suspect. The sophisticated characterizations elevate this above similarly themed books. This thriller ranks with the best work of Reed Farrel Coleman and Michael Koryta. Agent: Stacia Decker, Carlson & Lerner Literary. (Aug.)