on February 23, 2003
This is -- flat-out -- a great mystery novel, and one of the best mystery novels (among hundreds!) that I've ever read. The pacing is stupendous; the adventure rolls along, gaining momentum and suspense in a way that is, in the end, absolutely terrifying. If that's not enough to whet your appetite, Ms. Lawson succeeds in creating a slew of excellent characters, each of which has enough depth to draw readers in and get us interested in these people. As a measure of how impressive her achievement is in this respect, one can't help but feel some sympathy for one of the "bad guys" -- a sympathy felt, amid the murderous destruction that rains all around them, by the protagonists themselves. As if all the above isn't enough, the author creates a genuinely sexy feel to the novel that will prove accessible to male and female readers alike.
Don't be put off by the fact that the setting is a couple's sailboat journey. You don't need to know ANYTHING about sailing to enjoy this book -- Ms. Lawson clearly realizes that most of her readers don't know the difference between a jib sheet and a mainsail sheet, and aren't about to learn. If you don't know anything about sailing, you can still enjoy this book. If you love sailing, you'll love it all the more. But the sailing does NOT get in the way of the story.
I'm tempted to say that Ms. Lawson writes with a feminine viewpoint, in the sense that she pulls us into the character's relationships -- and does so in a way that elevates this book far beyond the level of your average mystery novel. Still, it's a tough, fast-paced action novel, too -- all the more believable and thrilling, one might add, because the reader begins to identify with the characters.
Be sure to set aside however much time you'll need to read this book straight through!
on January 13, 2003
Having picked up this book for Christmas as the second murder mystery by this new authoress, I continue to be fascinated with the intricate weave of suspense that she delivers. Having experience with California and Mexican ports, I have thoroughly enjoyed the well researched plot that travels down the California Coast to its conclusion south of the border.
This authoress has a gift for drawing the reader into the unfolding drama, and the precise descriptions of various boat ports brings the story to life. All of the elements of a great murder mystery that I enjoy come into play: real locations, greed, unexpected turns, life at sea, psychological insights, etc. This is a very hard-hitting 200 page mystery!
I highly recommend both of Lawson's books for casual reading at home or as travel companions.
on January 1, 2004
This book was a complete waste of money. A California sailing couple run into some trouble with some bad guys. After the first two or three chapters the narration starts to wear thin - smug, self-absorbed and prone to pouting is this person. There is a lot of useless dialogue where 'feelings' are evaluated, and vapid pleasantries between characters that lead nowhere. In one ridiculous episode, the wife agonizes about handling some knick-knacks on a shelf in a cop's office, while the husband assures her it's okay that she was 'coming on' to the cop (without even knowing it). There is a lot of 'filler' writing and aimless sailing around. A totally goofy novel.