Monday, January 15, 2024

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Western Justice by Dean L. Hovey @GoddessFish

Western Justice

by Dean L. Hovey

GENRE: Mystery


When human remains are found at the Vore Buffalo Jump, the short-staffed local sheriff’s department requests assistance from Park Service Investigators Doug and Jill Fletcher.

ATV tracks lead the investigators to the victim’s boots and a hunting blind constructed on the edge of the Black Hills National Forest. With more questions than answers the Fletchers find themselves pulled into the community dynamics of tiny Aladdin (population 15) where the café and general store are the hub of information for the county.

The surprising identification of the victim only opens more questions about him, and his connection to the location of his murder. When the Fletchers follow up on the few leads provided by John Doe’s identification, they unwittingly open a can of worms.


I don’t know if you remember me, but this is Hank Stoddard. I’m the Crook County sheriff, in Wyoming.”

I remember you, Sheriff. Have you had any shootouts lately?”

After a chuckle, Stoddard replied, “Well, we haven’t had to shoot anyone, but a body was found on a National Park Service site. I was wondering if you happened to be in the neighborhood and would be willing to take a look at it.”

I’m in Texas right now. But you’ve intrigued me. Did you have another person fall at Devils Tower?”

A volunteer found a body in Vore Buffalo Jump when they were cleaning up for the tourist season opening.”

I searched the recesses of my mind and vaguely remembered seeing a sign for the historic site but couldn’t recall the location. “Where is the buffalo jump?”

It’s just west of Beulah, within sight of I-90.”

That’s just across the border from South Dakota, right?”

That would be the spot. I was hoping you were visiting your South Dakota in-laws and might be willing to take a peek at the mess that was once a person.”

Let me make a couple of calls, Sheriff. We may need to make an unexpected trip to Spearfish.”

I’d be mighty appreciative if you could make that happen. This death is strange. The coroner and I have stewed over this a lot. It appears the victim was dragged across the prairie like a horse thief, then dumped at the buffalo jump site at some point over the winter.”

Dragged like a horse thief?”

Dragging a horse thief across the prairie was called western justice.”

Interview with Dean L. Hovey

    How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?

    I have 33 books in print. Of course, my most recent (Western Justice) is always the best and my current favorite!

    If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

    Western Justice is the latest (14th) in the Doug Fletcher, Park Service mystery series. Doug and his partner will be back this fall in “Strung Out to Die”, where they investigate a murder in Manzanar National Historic Site.

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    My intention is to have each book stand alone, with a distinct ending that wraps up all of the storylines. With that said, I have recurring characters in all three of my mystery series (Doug Fletcher Park Service mysteries, Pine County mysteries, and Whistling Pines cozy mysteries). With ongoing characters comes the growth in their depth, their interrelationships, and their involvement with each other and their families.

    How did you come up with the title for your book?

    “Western Justice” relates to the death of the victim whose body is bruised and abraded as if he’s been dragged behind a horse, like a cattle rustler or horse thief.

    How long did it take you to write this book?

    I have about six months invested in the research, writing, and rewrites.

    What does the title mean?

    “Western Justice” speaks to the Wyoming location, where the local residents are fiercely independent and sometimes (fictionally) resort to vigilante justice.

    What did you learn when writing the book?

    I learn so much during the research for every book. In this case, my learning included a visit to the Black Hills. My interview with Jackie Wyatt, the director of the Vore Buffalo Jump Foundation was especially informative. She gave me a personal tour of their facilities, which include one of the oldest and best-preserved archaeological sites in North America. My interviews with the workers at the Aladdin General Store, a local rancher, and with the Crook County Coroner were very informative and helpful as well.

    What surprised you the most?

    I was most surprised by the warm welcome I received from the people in the Black Hills. Everyone during the trip was extremely interested, kind, and helpful.

    Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?

    LOL. I’ve never killed a character but I did retire one of my Pine County characters. I received such an overwhelming negative response that I found a way to bring him back.

    What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

    I create a backstory for each of the main characters. By doing that, I understand their motivations, language, and the way they’ll react in a particular situation. Once that’s done, I start writing. Then, it’s them who get inside my head. They sometimes wake me very early in the morning, urging me to get my butt out of bed so I can start recording what they have to say!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Dean Hovey is a Minnesota-based author with three mystery series. He lives with his wife south of Duluth.

Dean’s award-winning* Pine County series follows sheriff’s deputies Floyd Swenson and Pam Ryan through this police procedural series.

Dean’s Whistling Pines books are humorous cozy mysteries centered on the residents of the Whistling Pines senior residence. The protagonist is Peter Rogers, the Whistling Pines recreation director.

In Dean’s latest series his protagonist, a retired Minnesota policeman, is drafted into service as a National Park Service Investigator after a murder at a National Monument.

* “Family Trees: A Pine County Mystery” won the 2018 NEMBA award for best fiction.

Connect with Dean Hovey

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you so much for featuring this book and author today.

Marcy Meyer said...

Sounds like a good mystery. Thanks for sharing.

Dean Hovey said...

Thanks for providing me this opportunity to interact with readers. I'd be delighted to answer their questions and to hear their thoughts. Dean

Sherry said...

This sounds like a good book and I really like the cover.

Elaine G said...

Great excerpt and interview. Sounds like a good book.

Michael Law said...

Yhos looks like a great. Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

Kim said...

I liked the interview.

Daniel M said...

sounds like a fun one