The discovery of a body on a Long Island beach leads a detective into a complex murder investigation with possible ties to drug trafficking in this novel.
A routine shift for East Hampton Deputy Chief Dispatcher Evangeline “Vangie” Clark takes an ominous turn when she receives an anonymous call about a body on the beach at Hither Hills State Park in Montauk. Detective Neil Jericho is dispatched to investigate and discovers a man’s body partially buried in a sand dune. The scene yields few clues. The man was shot in the head execution style and carried no identification. Jericho’s only clue to the victim’s identity is a wedding ring inscribed with the names Todd and Ardis. The man turns out to be Todd Winfield, a commodities broker who frequently travels to Manila for business. Jericho is initially suspicious of Todd’s wife, Ardis, especially when he learns the broker had a mistress. But the detective’s probe takes an unexpected turn when he uncovers evidence that Todd was involved in narcotics trafficking. When a second body is found at a lighthouse, Jericho wonders if both deaths are connected or if the solution to Todd’s murder is closer to home. This fifth installment of a series by Marks (Death Hampton, 2014, etc.) is a fast-paced mystery that derives its strength from the inclusion of current events. Jericho is a likable protagonist who balances dedication to his job with maintaining relationships with his daughter, Katie, and girlfriend, Rainbow. The novel opens with the murder of Todd, and Marks maintains tension throughout by introducing aspects of the broker’s life that may offer clues to his killer. A subplot involving international narcotics trafficking and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war is timely and similarly well-developed. Despite the book’s assets, the editing is a bit inconsistent, and the identification of Todd’s body hinges on a lucky break. The Winfields’ housekeeper is called “Marisol” and “Mirasol,” and it is convenient that the only other Ardis Winfield in the Suffolk County White Pages is too young to be Todd’s wife.
An entertaining mystery with an engaging hero and deftly handled plot twists.