An ex-convict meets the daughter of a death-row inmate in Prettyman’s (Redesigning Emma, 2013) debut novel.
In Clam Harbor, Wash., Chloe Thomas masquerades as Chloe Gallagher to conceal her relation to her father, Calvery Thomas, a convicted murderer awaiting execution in Texas. Although she barely earns a living as a charter boat captain, she commits to paying a $1,000 fee to obtain her father’s ashes after his death, but she’s unsure where she’ll get the cash. Through an acquaintance, she meets Texan Duke Summers, who proposes that she help him smuggle shipments of alcohol north to sell to the Native Americans on Vancouver Island. Chloe reluctantly agrees, risking imprisonment while pocketing a grand every trip. Just before his scheduled execution date, Calvery tells fellow inmate Finn Tully that he’ll see him “in the thin places”—a reference to the intersection of this world with the next. When Finn is released from prison, he makes good on his promise to track down Calvery’s daughter, proclaim the man’s innocence and search for missing treasure. After Finn arrives in Clam Harbor, he and Chloe are instantly attracted to each other but also distracted by the circumstances that surrounded Calvery’s arrest and imprisonment. Although this solid novel’s title refers to locales close to the great beyond, it’s not particularly mystical save for one out-of-this-world scene near its end. The text is occasionally marred by missing quotation marks and inconsistent formatting, but, that said, the dialogue between Chloe and Finn rings true. Their story is refreshingly free of the sort of trumped-up incidents that often throw male and female leads together, and Prettyman intriguingly finds resonance in the fact that Chloe and Finn each harbor secrets.
An often engaging romance/mystery with a hint of the otherworldly.