Taut thriller from accomplished attorney-turned-mysterian Patterson (In the Name of Honor, 2010, etc.) set on the familiar turf of Martha’s Vineyard.
There, on that Massachusetts island, Adam Blaine has an uneasy homecoming after ten years of self-imposed exile—or perhaps not self-imposed, since a difficult dad, encrusted with literary fame and exuding the highest of expectations, did his part to drive Adam off. Well, Dad has pitched off a cliff, and Adam, the shadowiest of CIA ops, is back for a funeral that has a hard time coming together, given that the paterfamilias has seemingly disowned his wife and offspring in favor of a glossy mistress. But did he do so? Was his death an accident? Did said Jezebel set up Pops to cash in on the will? And who would want such an entertaining bon vivant dead in the first place? Adam busies himself reconnecting à la Grosse Pointe Blank with old chums and more, most alluring among them one Jenny Leigh, who seems “to carry a separateness, as though creating her own space.” Well, on an island everyone knows everyone’s business, and lines of affinity, elective and otherwise, get very tight and tangled. As he strolls the sands, Adam turns up clues, from a photographic album of Ben Blaine in Southeast Asia way back when to the muffled murmurings of the locals about strange doings under the covers. Patterson carefully works the territory that lies between nostalgia (no one on the island can forget Adam’s big game against Nantucket) and the burning desire to get the heck out of Dodge, layering on plenty of local color without overdoing it. In the end, our super-spy assembles clues enough to convince him that old Ben probably didn’t just slip and tumble off the promontory, but instead was helped along. But by whom? Therein lies the mystery, with a resolution that Patterson skillfully hides until the very end.
Seascapes full of red herrings, seaside cottages full of secrets—all good fun, and a most satisfying whodunit.