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Massacre Island: A Novel Hardcover – Oct 5 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (Oct. 5 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312280955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312280956
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 445 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)


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I was kneeling on the sand and crushed oyster shells that pass for a parking lot at the Neptune Bar. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of those authors that write really well and the books just don't work for me. I'm not at all sure what the problem is and it may very well say more about me, than the author. As in his previous books, Big Easy, and Green-eyed Hurricane, Mr. Hegwood populates this novel with a cast of eccentric southerners and plenty of beautiful descriptions of scenery in the style of James Lee Burke. In between, along the way a murder or two coupled with plenty of observations about life are thrown in to pass the time. What comes out is a slow moving mystery with over half the book being an extended flashback and an amazingly convoluted story line.
Summarizing greatly, Jack Delmas is a private investigator still harboring bitterness over his divorce from Susan. Susan decided she didn't want to be married to someone who wasn't willing to work in her father's bank forever, worrying about the latest society pecking order, so she took their daughter and went home to Memphis. Six years later, Jack rarely gets to see his daughter Peyton and it is during her two-week summer visit that he becomes involved in his latest case.
Jack lives near Dauphin Island, Alabama, once known as Massacre Island for good reason. There has been a modern day massacre and the networks are camped out everywhere to cover the death and faltering police investigation. Four young people are dead in Jason Summers's beach house, counting Jason. The investigation is going nowhere as the victims are violated again by the media. The mother of one of the dead victims, Carolyn Jordan, hires Jack not to find the killer, but to clear her daughter, Rebecca, of any wrongdoing that led up to her death.
Jack agrees and soon is deep into a very murky case along with the reader.
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Format: Hardcover
The novel starts with a 40-page out-of-place chapter as PI Jack Delmas and Sheriff's Deputy Jimbo McInnis spend a night on the town. Jimbo majored in football at Mississippi State University where he was a starting lineman. After drinking tequila shooters, Jimbo has a way of picking fights, e.g., going into a redneck bar filled with Univ. of Alabama fans and criticizing Bear Bryant's trademark hat ("What French Quarter queer joint you reckon he was cruising when he found that..."). The next morning he can't remember the brawl, doesn't know why he has a sore foot and mud all over his pickup, and he has a massive hangover.
The story then flashes back to the start when Jack was hired by a woman to determine why her daughter, along with three other young people, was murdered in a summer cabin on Dauphine Island. Matters are complicated when Jack's ex-wife runs her mouth about Jack's case. She only told her friend on Dauphine Island, but that was like telling the tabloids. Jack receives a death threat before he half begins his inquiries. The 220 pages following Chapter One are divided into 26 additional chapters.
The case involves possible smuggling, sports betting, environmental fanatics, various local watering holes with hard-drinking pool-playing rednecks, and assorted women (Jimbo is usually on the prowl). The reader learns various details about Jack's past life, and his incompatibility with his ex-wife - their preferred lifestyles are a mismatch (he was from a family of shrimpers and boat builders and played baseball at Ole Miss, she was a Rebelette from a cotton-planting banking family in higher society). Jack's ex- is jealous of the new women in his life, particularly if they have a bigger bust than she has.
The novel has an interesting plot, and contains helpful maps of Dauphine Island and the Mobile County, Alabama area. It will probably be of particular interest to people familiar with the Gulf Coast.
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By Charles J. Marr on March 4 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you are new to Martin Hegwood, this is where to start. Other novels in the series are better than fair and worth the time( I prefer Green-Eyed Hurricane), but the necessary set-up information is here. Jack Delmas, divorced drop-out banker, private eye ( why are these P.I.s always retreads?) mixes with smugglers and bombers in an island setting in the company of a good ole boy "bubba" deputy sheriff with a high wheeled, swamp truck. Tavern brawls, parties with Jack's ex-wife's pre face lift crowd, and a next door group of costal undergraduates on weekend binge duty spice up an island inspired plot. This is a quick read, traditional who done what, that moves to a neatly prepared conclusion. Perfect book for a long plane ride or day at the beach.
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By John Bowes on May 9 2002
Format: Hardcover
A disappointing third entry in this series. A new character and good action in the first chapter and a big pause for the rest of the book. The villain and his motives are obvious long before our two heroes catch on. Let's hope for better the next time.
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Format: Hardcover
All private investigator Jack Delmas wants to do is have fun with his daughter before she returns home to her mother and watch a football game. However, his brother the lawyer sends a potential client to Jack at his home in Bay St. Louis. Carolyn Caviss wants to know why someone killed her beloved daughter Rebecca and three other people in Dauphin Island off the Alabama coast. Jack wants to refuse the grieving woman stating that the police are still investigating the murders. He cannot reject her plea especially when he sees the media is painting the quartet as a focus of drug and orgy activities while the Sheriff does nothing except appear on TV.

Jack travels to Dauphin Island and begins a careful inquiry so as to not run a foul of the local law enforcement investigation. However, with the help of Deputy Jimbo McInnis, Jack begins to uncover a twisted case that includes lunatic environmentalists, depraved wealthy individuals, and murderers who will kill a private sleuth getting to close to the truth.

MASSACRE ISLAND is an engaging private investigative mystery that works because the key players make the plot work. The story line is deep as the case twists and turns with each step that appears to bring Jack closer to the truth yet ends up meandering further from why Rebecca died. Martin Hegwood provides an entertaining tale for those who enjoy a solid sleuthing story.

Harriet Klausner
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