Current crimes and a cold case enliven a police chief’s holiday season.
Even though New York– and California-bred Henry Kennis has been Nantucket’s chief of police for several years, he’s still viewed as a relative newcomer on “the Rock,” especially by the families who’ve lived on the island for generations. And for the working people who can barely meet expenses while the superrich off-islanders are pouring in to build bigger and bigger mansions, the annual holiday lottery of red tickets—offering $5,000 in prizes donated by local businesses—is a coveted opportunity to brighten up the holidays. In the days before the holiday and the ticket drawing, a missing Santa Claus, stolen Toys for Tots that supposedly contain treasures, and a series of drug buys keep Kennis and his staff hopping, along with the discovery that someone may be rigging the red tickets. Kennis is also trying to help blend his family—his son and daughter—with his girlfriend and her son in the new home they’re renting. Just when he thinks he’s succeeded, and even his family issues are working out, the daughter of the town crier gets food poisoning, recently exhumed skeletal remains start looking more and more like those of a murder victim, and the island’s very own Scrooge maneuvers to avoid the consequences of a 20-year-old crime. But with the help of Kennis—the shrewd, street-wise cop who writes poetry on the side and is willing to break the rules to get the best results for the most people—fans can keep wishing for an outcome worthy of Dickens and the holiday season.
In the fourth installment of this seabound series, Axelrod (Nantucket Grand, 2016, etc.) and his protagonist bring an amused, judicious, and ultimately tolerant eye to the foibles large and small of a mixed Santa’s bag of characters.