An intricate chain of crimes set off during Nantucket’s avowedly quiet season leaves the shrewd poet/police chief little time for versification.
When Jared Bromley tries to return a biology textbook to the object of his adoration, his classmate Alana Trikilis, he sees her leaving her house with another boy. Worried that she’s being taken by force, he follows the two to a supposedly uninhabited cottage at the east end of Nantucket and ends up rescuing Alana from a dangerous situation. Daisy DeHart, the school psychologist Jared sees inside the cottage, has been recruiting girls for porn movies, and Alana has gone there hoping to help Jill Phelan, another high school girl who's caught up in the ring. The other people inside the cottage are so menacing that Alana and Jared don’t dare tell the police. But the NPD chief, LA transplant Henry Kennis, is pulled in when Jill overdoses on a new kind of drug. Kennis has to leave her bedside, her father, and her friend Oscar Graham to attend a memorial service for an ex-Marine who was shot by a stray bullet during hunting season even though he was wearing an orange vest. His death seems less like an accident when Kennis finds a sniper’s bullet rather than standard hunting buckshot. Before Kennis can follow up, he faces a case of arson and Alana’s nervous account of the movies made in that cottage. A mystery writer Kennis is cautiously courting thinks all the events so far are related, although Kennis remains skeptical of her theories when the months pass with no real answers to the crimes. Then Oscar Graham’s body is found floating in a salt marsh, the one holdout in a family land sale is murdered, and an obsession turned to mania threatens to rend Nantucket.
A beautiful island made ugly by class warfare makes a convincing backdrop for Chief Kennis' third case (Nantucket Five-Spot, 2015, etc.).