A Miami cop finds life very different when she moves to Maine, from the weather to the stubbornly independent people of Green Haven.
Jane Bunker, insurance investigator and part-time deputy sheriff, was born on Acadia Island, but her mother left with her and her brother, Wally, who has Down syndrome, when they were very young. She knows the Bunker family only from her mother’s unflattering stories and so far has not worked up the courage to look into the past. When her boss asks her to investigate a house fire on Acadia, she gets her buddy Cal to take her across and goes to the home of the caretakers, Joan and Clark Proctor, and their daughter, Trudy, a mouthy law student who’s been picketing the island lobster factory and, as Jane later learns, sending threatening emails to Midge Kohl. Acadia has been far from peaceful ever since Midge and her husband gathered a group of investors to build a factory to process lobster. Finding too few locals to staff the place, the Kohls imported a group of ex-cons, driving down property values and scaring off residents. Their house fire at first seems accidental, but when Jane stumbles upon the body of the unpopular Midge and the autopsy reveals that she was murdered, the sheriff hands her the case. On the mainland, she arrests two men carrying a box of powder she thinks is probably drugs. She’s wrong—the substance is used to treat lobsters for transport—but the episode makes her wonder if drugs are involved in Midge’s murder, and she jumps to a few more conclusions that work out no better as she doggedly pursues a killer who may have her marked for murder.
Greenlaw’s (Lifesaving Lessons, 2013, etc.) experience as a Maine-based lobster-boat captain brings verisimilitude to her descriptions of the people, the landscape, and most of all the wild offshore weather, all neatly rolled into a mystery with plenty of suspects.