First in a new series featuring a feisty marine investigator.
Jane Bunker, 41 and burned out after years working Miami homicides, returns to Green Haven, Maine, the town she was born in and left at age seven. She settles in above the Vickersons’ garage and works as a marine-insurance agent, a job that barely pays enough to keep her pokey old Duster running. When town drunk Nick Dow tumbles off the dock, she wonders if it’s really an accident. There’s his bashed head, for one thing, and the controversy he instigated about the plans for a wind farm that could destroy the local cod-fishing industry. Dow also had a profitable sideline as the local bookie, to whom a debtor code-named “34” owed $50,000. Luckily, Jane is befriended by Cal, the hunchbacked foreman at the Turner cod factory, who helps when she tangles with Blaine and Lucy Hamilton, Lucy’s son, Alex, his hunky dad, Lincoln, Lincoln’s brother, George, and Ginny, the obese owner of the cod plant. Arson, imported crabs and a ferocious sea battle are on the menu before Jane, with a few assists from her author, triumphs.
Greenlaw (All Fisherman Are Liars, 2004, etc.) writes the best storm sequence this side of Hammond Innes, and you could build a boat from her description of its innards. Jane’s a prize catch, and so are the crusty down-easters she lives with.