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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.




Pine County Mysteries series

The Pine County series is set in a rural northeastern Minnesota. The protagonists are Pine County deputy sheriffs, the recurring characters include Sergeant Floyd Swenson and Deputy Pam Ryan. Family Trees, (Pine county book 6) was the winner of the NEMBA (Northeastern Minnesota Book Award) award for best fiction.

Pine county is 1,400 sq. miles, with hundreds of lakes, swamps, rivers and streams. Previous books investigated the death of a teacher who’d been “dating”his female students, skeletal remains of a teen missing since the 1970’s, and a crime revealed when film in a garage sale camera is developed.


 Pine County #10


A body is found alongside a pickup that's smashed into the Pine County History Museum. A day later, the county tax assessor has an apparent case of food poisoning during a horse show. A girl is missing from school and the rental house she shares with her mother is deserted with nothing left behind but a bloody knife. The investigations by Sergeant CJ Jensen and Deputy Pam Ryan heat up when vacationers find a teen suicide victim in the bathtub of their rental house. Back from retirement, Floyd Swenson brainstorms with CJ and Pam about the unlikely surge in Pine County crimes.



 Pine County #9



When Roger Bartlett doesn’t return from his deer stand at sunset, his friends go looking for him. Failing to find him overnight, a broader search starts the next morning, led by the Pine County Sheriff’s Department.  Sgt. C.J. Jensen discovers footprints leading to a remote summer cabin. Inside, she finds Bartlett, dead from a gunshot wound.

The investigation quickly focuses on Barlett’s tire recapping business in the tiny town of Askov. The workers, all parolees from the nearby Federal Prison, are wary of the interviewing deputies, and are less than forthcoming. Roger’s widow seems upset, but she is the biggest beneficiary of Bartlett’s death, so a prime suspect. His partner was in Las Vegas at the time of the shooting, but his past criminal record is suspicious. As Sgt. C.J. Jensen and Investigator Pam Conrad dig, they develop a long list of suspects, all with alibis for the time of the shooting. Consulting with recently retired Sgt. Floyd Swenson, Pam and C.J. sift through layers of lies and misdirection until they uncover the motive and confront the killer.

 Pine County #8




Ted Palmquist’s mother finds him in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor and calls an ambulance. Violently ill after a night with his high school friends, Ted’s incoherent rants in the ER mention Tammi, who’s been missing for six months. As the Pine County deputies investigate his mysterious illness, they encounter a group of teen misfits whose dysfunctional families are oblivious to their truancy and illegal activities.

Deputy Charlene (C.J.) Jensen, takes over the investigation when Sergeant Floyd Swenson, unexpectedly steps aside to deal with personal issues. Still struggling with the recent death of her husband, C.J. is sucked into the world of runaways, bullying, and the unknown cause of Ted’s illness. Deputy Pam Ryan, back from maternity leave and restricted to the office, is unable to stay at her desk when the investigation heats up



Pine County #7 




As alcohol lubricates the conversation at a 30th high school reunion, Judy Bloom lets slip that she had an intimate relationship with a teacher while she was a student. More revelations follow, along with the news that the teacher kept a video camera hidden in his closet. When two classmates get to the retired teachers house, they find it abandoned with evidence he’d been dragged away.

Pine County deputies Floyd Swenson and Pam Ryan work their way through the videos, finding the victims evasive and unwilling to speak. Pam Ryan’s growing cynicism spills into her personal life, driving her to a decision point with her new boyfriend who might not be ready for a lasting relationship with a cop.