A retired Coast Guard intelligence and security specialist is drawn into a murder mystery in Hatfield’s debut.
Carla escapes to the water for a sailing excursion on a beautiful fall day. It’s something she does often to ease her grieving mind, following the loss of her husband, Marty, the one true love of her life. This day is different, however: She discovers the body of her friend, Crystal Mason, rolled up in a rug that has washed ashore. Carla slowly slips back into her former life as a Coast Guard intelligence specialist—undercover, of course—to sniff out the real killer. Her nosing around gets her into trouble with her suspects and with the law, since her investigation isn’t official. Along the way, the reader learns about Carla’s heavy burden of grief and how it can, at times, overcome her. Fortunately, she’s comforted by her mother, Jolie, and Molly, her faithful canine companion, whose love for her “human” is unrivaled: “Molly always seemed to know when it was a bad day, and would stay close all day, all night, as long as it took for Carla to come back up from the pit.” As Carla gets closer and closer to the real killer, and finds that her life might be in danger, she’s forced to face her own darkness and find a way to make peace with it. The story isn’t overly complex and the dialogue can be a bit flat at times, but there are enough suspects and twists to keep the whodunit going. Although readers may find that the novel ends a little too perfectly with everything tied up in a nice bow, it’s still a fun and satisfying escape, ideal for fans of light thrillers.
A simple but engaging coastal mystery.