Martha's Vineyard has not yet been overrun by tourists in June, although the college kids who staff the restaurants and fill the bars have rented every available living space, including the overpriced, undermaintained group houses owned by Ben Krane. After two of his rattraps are torched in one week, sleazy, unlikable Krane asks clammer/fisherman/family man J.W. Jackson (late of the Boston PD) to investigate. Since the charred remains of oldtime blues guitarist and songman Corrie Appleyard, a friend of J.W.'s daddy years back, lie in one of the houses, J.W. agrees to help, setting the stage for fireworks with his wife Zee, veteran of a long-ago interlude with Krane and his even sleazier brother Peter. When Corrie’s cousin Henry, a retired Philadelphia gangster, hears how many vulnerable young women the Kranes’ vile philandering has sullied, he insists on accompanying J.W. on a visit to Krane, making him a threat he can't refuse. Still another sexually harassed young woman, a friend of Zee's, will need J.W.'s help before the Vineyard again becomes the perfect venue for buying ice cream cones, holding hands at sunset, and making bluefish pâté.
J.W. is turning into the sensitive, playful, proud papa we all wish we had, but along with all this easygoing amiability come flashes of a darker, more dangerous J.W., particularly when he’s confronted with Zee's past. Could J.W. and his beloved Vineyard (A Fatal Vineyard Season, 1999, etc.) one day take on a whiteknuckled, hardedged case?