Wisconsin Connection Books 2015

I like reading books with a Wisconsin connection.  If you do too, here is a list for you of books with a Wisconsin connection that were published in 2015.



Bostwick, Marie. The Second Sister

Heartwarming story set in Door County. Lucy always felt like the second sister because her sister Alice was her father’s favorite. Lucy left Door County to take a high-powered job and never intended to go back. But now her parents are deceased, and Alice has just died. Lucy goes back to Door County and finds out things about Alice and about herself.


Brafman, Michelle. Washing the Dead

Set in Milwaukee in the 1970s and 2009. The title refers to a sacred Jewish ritual. Barbara was brought up in an Orthodox Jewish household and was best friends with the rebbetzin’s daughter. Then her mother had an affair, and Barbara became estranged from the Orthodox Jewish community and her mother. Some reconciliation comes when the rebbetzin asks Barbara to participate in the sacred rite of washing the dead when a beloved mentor dies.


DeVita, James. A Winsome Murder

Set in Winsome (a fictional place probably near Wisconsin Dells) and in Chicago. The body of a young woman who had grown up in Winsome but left for Chicago years ago is found near Winsome. Trying to solve the crime are the local police and a cop from Chicago who has thoughts and Shakespeare quotes that come to him like ESP and that help him solve crimes. Contains violent and disturbing scenes.


Doig, Ivan. Last Bus to Wisdom

Donal is an orphan being raised by his grandmother in 1951 Montana. When she needs surgery, she sends Donal to Manitowoc where her sister Kate and brother-in-law Herman (Dutch) live. But it does not work out, and Donal is soon sent back to Montana. To Donal’s surprise, Herman has decided to leave for Montana also. Funny, endearing characters with lots of information on ranch life.


Frahmann, Dennis. The Finnish Girl

Set in Milwaukee and northern Wisconsin. Opens in 1983 on a farm in northern Wisconsin as 14 year old Danny discovers his mother Lempi has committed suicide. Then the story backtracks to Milwaukee in 1967 when Lempi is 34 years old and working at “Bremen” College. Her mentor Pauline from their hometown helped her get a job at the college. Early in the story it is revealed that Pauline got pregnant in high school, and it was covered up by having a Finnish immigrant couple pass off Lempi as their daughter. Lempi is bitter because her parents were harassed in the Red Scare of the 1950s. Finns in Wisconsin often were supporters of socialist causes. Not a happy novel but a novel of loss and regrets with interesting background on Finns in Wisconsin, the Red Scare, and 1960s anti-war movement.


Griffin, Neal. Benefit of the Doubt

Ben was a cop in California until he got carried away and killed a suspect. He relocated to Newburg, 45 minutes west of Milwaukee, where his father-in-law was police chief and is currently recovering from a stroke. The Newburg cops don’t accept Ben except for Latina Tia Suarez. Now a criminal has been paroled and is out for vengeance with Ben’s family in his sights. Gritty, violent, and disturbing with Ben battling corrupt cops.


Reichert, Amy E. Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Sweet romance set in Milwaukee. Elizabeth, known as Lou, is upset and not able to concentrate at her restaurant after she finds her fiancé with another woman when she goes to deliver a special coconut cake. Unfortunately Al (pen name A. W. Wodyski) chooses that day to visit the restaurant and writes as scathing review. Al and Lou meet later and are attracted to each other, but since they do not discuss work or jobs, it takes a long time for them to figure out who's who.


Sanna, Lucy. Cherry Harvest

Set in 1944 in Door County. Thomas and Charlotte have a cherry orchard. Son Ben is fighting in Italy and daughter Kate is looking forward to going to the university. When Thomas and Charlotte decide to use German POWs to help with the cherry harvest, events are set in motion that leads to tragedy. Part historical fiction of the WWII home front, part Seventeenth Summer but more explicit, and part tragedy.


Sklaka, Patricia. Death at Gills Rock

Second in the Dave Cubiak series. Three elderly WWII vets are found dead. Was it really accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, or are there some other secrets that would have made for a motive to kill them? Enjoyable procedural mystery with Door County setting.


Zimmer, Paul. Mysteries of Soldiers Grove

Set in Soldiers Grove and Viroqua. Cyril lives in an assisted living home. One night he sneaks out to visit the local bar and is abducted by a vicious criminal who drops him off miles from town in a blizzard. Cyril recovers, and an organization awards him $50,000 for bravery. Cyril develops a sweet relationship with Louise, a widow and new resident. Then the vicious criminal whom Cyril calls Balaclava comes back into his life when he finds out Cyril has $50,000. Humor, a suspenseful ending, and some serious points about growing old.



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