When two recovering alcoholics and their codependent friend take shares in a Hamptons clean-and-sober house, murder adds excitement to their vacation.
Bruce Kohler is doing temp work while he tries to piece his life back together. His friend Jimmy, a computer geek, would rather be home in his air-conditioned apartment. But Jimmy’s counselor wife Barbara has them up at the crack of dawn to explore the nearby beach. When Barbara goes for a run on the beach, she discovers the body of their housemate Clea, apparently drowned. Newly arrived, the trio know nothing about their housemates except that they’re all in a 12-step program. Even so, their sleuthing instincts won’t let them ignore a potential murder, especially one with an unpleasantly personal dimension. Although Clea’s job as an investigative reporter had made her any number of enemies, Bruce’s forgotten encounter with her when he was 15 puts him high up on the suspect list. Several of their housemates, who’ve been visitors to Dedhampton before, have helped develop a close relationship with a neighboring house owned by wealthy Oscar. Torn between making money and protecting the Hamptons, he becomes the next victim of a determined killer. So as Bruce cultivates a carefully romantic relationship with a housemate and the trio bask in the beauties of the Hamptons, they work to uncover a killer before summer ends.
Psychotherapist Zelvin (Death Will Help You Leave Him, 2009, etc.) is best read for her well-developed characters rather than for the mystery, which is merely adequate.