Off Season Mass Market Paperback – Jun 28 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
As fisherman/sleuth J. W. Jackson gets increasingly adept in the kitchen, this Martha's Vineyard series brings Martha Stewart to mind, but the fun remains as Jackson proves he can still finger a murderer as deftly as he opens oysters. At issue here is 50 acres of land, coveted by hunters and animal-rights activists. Although the loud-mouthed leaders of both groups seem destined for homicide, the man who dies is an eccentric recluse with few enemies, a surprising way with the ladies, some strange sexual aids in his cabin and a bow and arrow, which is the weapon that kills him. The victim's link to the land squabble is his friendship with the daughter of an animal-rights supporter whose husband has political aspirations. Meanwhile, the hunters' spokesman is attacked by a thug linked to organized crime. Jackson has his hands full: hunting down scallops, cooking up batches of kale soup and staying on an even keel with Zee, the girl of his dreams and soon-to-be wife, if their attacks of nerves don't skuttle the pending nuptials. He also has to find the killer, which he does quite handily. Although Jackson verges on smug, the beauty of Craig's ( The Woman Who Walked into the Sea ) New England settings seem to justify his hero's pride in his soup, his boat, his girlfriend and his own, considerable charm.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Ex-cop J.W. Jackson's idyllic engagement to Martha's Vineyard nurse Zee Madieras, and his ritual bouts of fishing and scalloping and cooking and eating, are interrupted by a feud between animal- rights activist Mimi Bettencourt and hunter/editorialist Ignacio Cortez over the proper use of the 50-acre tract that wealthy Carl Norton has just sold to a public commission; by a couple of run-ins with uncouth Providence hoodlum Joey Percell, who warns Nash Cortez to lay off them animal-rights people; and by a slight case of murder. The corpse is Chug Lovell, Carl's no-account neighbor and rumored tobacco heir. As usual, J.W. (Cliff Hanger, 1993, etc.), hired by improbably swinging lawyer Heather Mainwaring to find out who killed the man she was swinging with, never falters in his stream of breezy banter and prosy homiletics, not even when he's questioning the other women Chug had also enticed into sexual submission and then blackmailed with his photo albums. A pinch of mild mystery--J.W. seems to have learned his craft not from the Boston PD but from a mail-order course, and the local law is two or three lessons behind him--to a double helping of recipes and cozy charm. It must be off season for crime and punishment too. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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He's called upon to do some amateur sleuthing when a man with a seamy past is murdered with an arrow. A Providence gangster shows up and detracts from the plot. J.W. goes around without a detective's license interrogating suspects, and they tell him an awful lot, more than is credible for my money.
It's so full of Island lore and local color that it seems intended to whet the appetites of future Vineyard visitors or satisfy those who know the place.
J.W.'s romance with Zee is an important part of the narrative. The story starts off with a battle between the animal rights people and the hunters. Characterization is not one of Craig's strong points, and some elements of his plotting seem phony. Blackmail and kinky sex figure in the plot.
People on Vineyard beaches and elsewhere may find this a relaxing read that certainly won't overtax their minds, but they may have difficulty when it comes to the credulity test. The background Vineyard stuff is very authentic though, and J.W.'s cozy lifestyle may lull them into a state of forgiveness.