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"Devil's Kettle", a mystery thriller set on the North Shore

Jan 23, 2021 10:14AM ● By Editor
From Boreal Community Media - January 23, 2021

Synopsis - From

Three missing persons cases over a two-year period collide in this novel. The most recent person gone missing, Seth Tryton, has friends in low places that won't let the case stand as is. Placing his freedom in peril, fugitive from the law, Gerald Hodges, returns to Minnesota to help find out what happened, A couple of associates accompany him as they roam the streets of Duluth and travel the North Shore in search of clues to his disappearance.

They discover that Peter Karonen, a local man living in the small town of Finland may hold the key to all three disappearances. He is a man who has lost everything important in his life-his wife to cancer, and a daughter mired in a persistent vegetative state. His dark journey leads him on a collision course with Gerald Hodges and his crew. Complicating matters, the local police discover that Hodges is in the vicinity and pursue him with vigor. Hodges must not only find his friend, but dodge the police in the process.

From Minnesota Public Radio News 

Lisa Deyo of Sweet Reads in Austin, Minn. — across from the Spam Museum — recommended the murder mystery “The Devil’s Kettle” by fellow Austin-based writer J.J. Ollman. 

As the title promises, the Devil’s Kettle waterfall north of Lake Superior —whose falls seem to disappear into oblivion — figures prominently in this mystery thriller, which opens with a series of missing person cases. 

 About the Author

J.J. Ollman hails from Austin in southeast Minnesota, and he’s avid hiker and camper across Minnesota’s Northwoods. Part of what Deyo loves is how well Ollman has drawn the setting and its local characters. Specifically, Deyo admits she fell for the bad guys in the story, but hastened to add that their intriguing backstories made the reader really feel for them. 


The story is engaging and decently structured, and for the most part everything is tied up satisfactorily at the end. The prose is straightforward and workmanlike. Although missing persons cases are a staple of the genre, the author manages to tell a story that is original and features unique and believable characters.  

Critic's report from BookLifePrize
"This is not just your ordinary missing person, serial killer, and mystery. Ollman makes it so much more when he keeps throwing in twists that keep you sitting on the edge of your chair with the turn of each page. Just when you think you have it figured out - wham! He does it again. Even with the barrage of twists and turns in the mystery, Ollman keeps the story clear and flowing. The reader never becomes confused about what's going on - the story flows so well that the reader can do nothing but sit back and wait for the next twist knowing it is coming but not just when or how!" - Charla White--Words a Plenty

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