Saturday, June 03, 2017

Shiver Hitch by Linda Greenlaw

It's been nine years since Linda Greenlaw's last Jane Bunker mystery, Fisherman's Bend. Now, she
brings back the former Florida police detective who left for Maine. Jane, insurance investigator and Assistant Deputy Sheriff, narrates the story of a simple case that turned into so much more.

It's Jane's first winter in Green Haven, Maine, and she's learning to cope with the snow and cold. The weather and Jane's acclimation to it is a constant source of amusement at the Harbor Cafe. The villagers are always interested in Bunker's cases, and they know more about the investigations than she does. This time, her job as insurance investigator takes her to Acadia Island to examine a house fire. Even after she finds a body, Jane believes someone was trapped when the house caught fire. It's only the next day when the newspaper and both of her bosses want more facts that she learns she's now investigating a murder.

Acadia Island now has a lobster processing plant with ex-con employees. There are many islanders who might have wanted to kill the deceased, the owner of the plant. But, Jane rushes to judgment when she arrests a suspect. Her lack of island knowledge puts her in danger, threatened by some of the ex-cons, trapped on a small boat during a Nor'easter, and later, caught by the killer.

Greenlaw, author of The Hungry Ocean, brings all of her knowledge of the sea to this atmospheric mystery. However, for those of us who read for character, Jane is an intriguing sleuth. She has a great deal of personal baggage with her zeal for investigating drug crimes, her family connection to Acadia Island, and her attitude. Sometimes she's cocky in her assuredness that she's right, and that she's the responsible one. She may take the easiest path to a solution, rather than investigating. She realizes she's forsaken relationships because of her obsession with work. Her life is in stark contrast to that of her brother, Wally, an adult with Down's Syndrome. It's the villagers, with their more laid-back life and their humor, that bring a human quality to Jane Bunker's life.

Shiver Hitch is an atmospheric mystery populated with humorous characters. Maybe Greenlaw won't wait another nine years for Jane Bunker's return.

Linda Greenlaw's website is www.lindagreenlawbooks.com

Shiver Hitch by Linda Greenlaw. Minotaur Books. 2017. ISBN 9781250107565 (hardcover), 304p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.






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