First in the Vineyard Murder series. The editing was a bit choppy, but I think I will most definately give book 2 a try.
During his career as a Boston cop, Jeff "JW" Jackson was shot and has decided to retire to the serenity of Martha's Vineyard to spend his days fishing and wooing a nurse named Zee. But when a local's boat mysteriously explodes off the coast, killing a young man, Jackson finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the investigative trade.
There are some wrong doings in paradise - and it's contaminating Jackson's lovely peaceful island with its poisonous venom of drugs and death.
A great start to the Martha's Vineyard Mystery series! I can't wait to read more of this series and find out what happens to J.W. and Zee, and see what new mystery J.W. will solve next. He reminds me a bit of Robert Parker's Spenser character. Highly recommended!
Martha's Vineyard, fishing, JW a retired police officer, murder and a mystery. What a great combination. This is my first, but not last of this series. The book was well written and I enjoyed reading it.
My first sample of Philip R. Craig's "Martha's Vineyard" series, I liked it well enough to request the next few books from fellow PBS members. It was quick, and straightforward. The mystery plot had integrity and made sense at the end. But it was the interesting lead character(s) that made me want to read more.
In style, the storytelling reminded me of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series, and Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series.
During his years as a Boston cop, Jeff "J.W." Jackson got a bellyful of seeing the evil that people do to one another, so when he decided to retire, he bought a place on Martha's Vineyard. Now he spends his time working out in his garden, fishing, cooking, and getting to know a new nurse on the island.
When a local's boat explodes off the coast, killing a well-liked young man, Jackson finds himself being drawn into the investigation. His island sanctuary is being poisoned with drugs and death, and he's determined to do something about it.
Philip R. Craig has a deceptively smooth writing style that drew me right into the story, and J.W. Jackson's self-deprecatory sense of humor put me in his cheering section immediately.
The strength of this book is the depiction of the life and the people of Martha's Vineyard. I could smell the salt air and hear the cry of the gulls wheeling overhead. Between J.W. and island life, I almost didn't notice that the plot was rather thin and had practically no tension. In the case of A Beautiful Place to Die, this didn't really matter because I enjoyed the background so much.
In many ways, this first book in the series seems to have been written as the foundation for all the books to come. While some series start off with grabbing you by the throat and filling in the details later, Craig starts his by telling us, "This is where everything happens. Here's the guy you want to pay close attention to, and here are his neighbors. Come back tomorrow, and I'll tell you a story or two about what goes on here."
From Publishers Weekly: "Retired cop J. W. Jackson, the protagonist of this debut mystery is a passionate fisherman, an enthusiastic cook and appreciative gourmand, a quoter of Keats and Babar stories, and a dogged sleuth...The title refers to Martha's Vineyard, which Craig evokes quite well, conveying not only specific local color but also the sociological patterns of an inbred island community, celebrated by tourists for its idyllic ambience but also a haven for drug traffickers. When one of J. W.'s fishing buddies is killed in the explosion of a boat belonging to...a millionaire entrepreneur, J. W. dusts off his investigative skills, focusing on the boat owner's spoiled son, a former druggie. Meanwhile he is wooing a comely nurse, an apt student of angling and as snappy a conversationalist as J. W. himself. While this is all pleasant, it is not terribly suspenseful. Since the romance proceeds without any problems strewn in the lovers' path, and the mystery lacks urgency and a sense of menace (despite the requisite car chase and a thunderstorm that cuts the power at a critical moment), this literate novel gets points for prose style but not for thrills."
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