While he’s working toward his private eye’s license, ex-Marine Mac McClellan takes on a case to oblige his girlfriend after she sees a ghost.
St. George is one of those Florida panhandle towns where everyone’s known everyone else since childhood. So it shouldn’t be all that surprising when Kate Bell, who works in Gillman’s Marina, gets a glimpse of her old boyfriend, Wes Harrison—except that Wes drowned back in 1997 along with his buddies Eric Kohler and Robert Ramey. After Kate is done fainting, Mac is done reasoning with her, and the couple is done with the cold-shoulder tango, Mac assures Kate that he believes her and vows to get to the bottom of the mystery. And there’s quite a bit to get to the bottom of, since it turns out that two of the three drowning victims were in love with each other, and the identity of one of them seems to have been assumed by an ex-con with an impressive rap sheet. The closer Mac looks into the past, the less he believes it. Soon he’s wondering if Eric’s sister, pilot Rachel Todd, really died a few months after her brother in a Latin American crash from which no bodies were ever recovered. The trail to the truth leads through a stash of conflict diamonds, a drug bust and the Palmetto Royale Casino and Spa, where Mac finds wild child Dakota Owens, the cousin of his cop buddy Sgt. J.D. Owens, working as a blackjack dealer. There’s never much doubt about whodunit; given the variety of felonies, readers are more likely to wonder who’s on first.
Studly Mac (Deadly Catch, 2013) and the bevy of available beauties who swarm around him should provide red meat for fans who still miss Travis McGee.