I adore books written with the backdrop of the New England coastline. When I lived in New England, the small Islands are where we summered at with the kids when they were younger. Growing up in the Pacific NW when I was not camping with the YMCA, my family would sale and camp in the small islands in the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. I grew up with the ability to dig for clams at day break and swim any time I wanted to when the weather allowed. The energy surrounding those trips were always magical. I found myself many an afternoons with the family and later with my kids weaving tales of treasure and digging clam shells buried by the Indians and dreaming stories in my head.
Upon opening the book and finding where it took place, I knew no matter how I felt about the characters, I would have an experience mixed into the memories triggered from my past. I wasn’t let down. This book was so uniquely written blended with its moments of darkness and sparkle of gentle island magic and mystery. I read straight through the night. Though nothing which would make it gratuitous in violence, or sex this is no way a cozy mystery. It is not light and happy. These people are a freaking mess. They swear, lie, act like crazy people many a time and they drink constantly. With the isolation it has a tad of Agatha Christie going on, which made me smile from ear to ear. I love contained mysteries like this! Limited only by the fear and obstacles. No police to save the day, just wits!
I didn’t like many of the characters, but not because they fell flat from the writing but because many of them were narcissistic selfish jerks. Our protagonist, Gil, is someone who is not really someone you want to like but end up wanting to send to a therapist and give a hug to. If there were a basket of apples with one orange or banana in it, he would not be taking an apple. He went along for the ride and ended up taking over the whole trip in the end. Like his friend, he tends to be pretentious but before you hit about half way through you realize he is another broken person you want to fix and watch grow within these books. I have not read the first in the series but I will and I cannot wait for the third.
If you are looking for a well constructed, beautiful and solid clean mystery which will catch you off guard and yet still in enough comforting conventions of the mystery genre, you will be thrilled to death… but I hope not literally :)