The woman appealing to p.i. Jack Delmas for help needs it desperately. Carolyn Caviss’s smile is pinched, the circles under her eyes dark as pitchblende as she begs him to find out why her daughter Rebecca was murdered. It’s a case Jack—and just about everyone else on the Mississippi Gulf Coast—knows about. A few days earlier, in a beach house on opulent Dauphin Island, four young people were found shot to death, and ever since the place has been media mecca of the month. Though Jack also knows how little the official forces of law and order will welcome input from a private gumshoe, those beseeching eyes soon have him in full sleuthing mode, making the many enemies his good sense told him he would. Some of these newfound acquaintances are cops, of course, but some, even nastier, belong to a bizarro environmentalist group. The common interest that unites them all is wanting him off the island. The reasons why are unclear; the letter bomb that almost goes off in his mailbox isn’t. But anyone who knows Jack (A Green-Eyed Hurricane, 2000, etc.) is aware of the bulldog in him. Soon enough, he comes to believe that Rebecca died because she made the mistake of being in the wrong place—and that lightning could very well strike a fifth time.
A likable hero and interesting New South locale, undercut by a ho-hum whodunit.