Yet another chapter in the mostly idyllic life of ex-cop J.W. Jackson, living on Martha’s Vineyard with his second wife, Zee, and their two small children (A Fatal Vineyard Season, 1999, etc.). Returning from a clamming expedition one morning, J.W. finds that Zee has been threatened and injured by a pair of thugs sent to the island by mobster Sonny Whelen to find Tom Rimini, the schoolteacher husband of J.W.’s first wife, Carla, who lives on the mainland. Don’t cry too hard for the intended victim, though: Zee, a skilled shot, has defended herself by killing one hood and wounding the other. But how much time have her heroics bought Rimini? The gambling addict owes Whelen big-time and is also being pursued by a cop named Graham. Clearly the man needs help, and J.W. rises to the occasion by finding shelter for him in an empty house on the island, going to see Carla, and keeping in touch with local police biggies and reporter Quinn. For his pains he faces a further complication when Rimini is joined in his hideout by Grace Shepard, a gangster’s widow Whelen once coveted. A series of nonevents eventually free J.W. to return to his fishing, clamming, and cooking.
Scattershot plotting and a hero-detective who grows ever more complacent. Best suited for fans in exactly the same frame of mind.