DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN by Janet Dawson

DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There goes Jeri Howard's vacation in Monterey, Calif. First, her cousin Donna Doyle shows her some photos of mutilated pelicans that set her wondering who could do such a thing. Then Ariel Logan, the girlfriend of her other cousin, Bobby Ravella, disappears right after fighting with Bobby, and the Monterey Sheriffs Office takes note. Finally, the mother Jeri's never been close to asks her to check out the pattern of sabotage at her upscale restaurant: salt in the sugar bowls, hassles from the INS, rumors of food poisoning, an entree served à la mouse, a stink bomb. It's almost too much to hope that such a varied menu of cases could turn out to be related, but they are -- as Jeri realizes when she looks more closely at Karl Beckman, the new man in her mother's life, who was recently and efficiently widowed when his black-sheep brother Gunter drove himself and Karl's wife off an ocean road. What did Ariel know about the dubious dealings of the ailing Beckman Boat Works, and why did that knowledge produce such a bizarre array of repercussions? Despite some rough carpentry in the villains' motivations, Dawson (Take a Number, 1993, etc.) pulls her mysteries together with a logically convincing flourish. Even better, the breathless multiple plots (if it's Tuesday, this must be the homicide) for once don't reduce the scurrying characters to ciphers. Mother/daughter feuds, family solidarity, an ecological mystery: Dawson blends these familiar ingredients with a chefs Élan.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Fawcett/Ballantine