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Vineyard Prey: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery [Hardcover]

Philip R. Craig

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Book Description

June 7 2005 Martha's Vineyard Mysteries
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and hunting season is in full swing on the Vineyard. J. W. Jackson -- retired cop, dedicated fisherman, and passionate cook -- is more or less holed up with his wife, Zee, and their two spunky kids for the winter. At least dear old dad has finally agreed to get a computer to keep them connected to the outside world! Otherwise, their cozy Vineyard home is pretty much cut off from civilization during this time of year.
Still, the world has a way of intruding on their idyllic winter setting. When J.W.'s old Vietnam buddy and Vineyard fishing companion, Joe Begay, asks to be met on Cape Cod and virtually smuggled back to the island, J.W. knows something's not right. Joe wouldn't be sneaking around and asking J.W. to do him odd favors if trouble weren't brewing. J.W. also knows that Begay wasn't merely a soldier, but he has also performed highly secretive work for the government ever since Vietnam.
Soon, the facts begin to emerge: A few years ago, Begay and five fellow agents were caught in the chaos of a bloody mission. Today, only two of the five remain. The others have died unexpectedly, and a killer known as the Easter Bunny may now be on his way to the island to take out Joe Begay.
Enter the seductive and highly dangerous Kate MacLeod, the fifth member of Begay's secret government team. Why has Kate suddenly appeared on the Vineyard? Is she there to warn Begay, or could she be there to kill him? Even though Begay claims to trust her, J.W. is sticking close to Kate's side to make sure his friend is not being double-crossed.
J.W. has always admired and respected Begay, and would do anything to help him out -- but he can't let Zee and the kids become targets in this cat-and-mouse game. Can J.W. divert the Bunny's attention long enough for Begay to take him out? And can he keep his family out of harm's way?


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 7 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743246772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743246774
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,754,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Set in December during scallop season, Craig's cleverly plotted 16th Martha's Vineyard mystery to feature flip, fast-talking retired Boston cop J.W. Jackson (after 2004's Vineyard Mansion) opens with the arrival on the island of government agent Joe Begay, an old buddy from Vietnam days seeking J.W.'s unofficial help to track down a killer. As Joe later explains when the pair secretly rendezvous on the Cape, three out of five agents involved in an undercover mission have died mysteriously in the past year. Joe and the other surviving member of the team suspect a terrorist known as the Easter Bunny is after them and may be on the Vineyard. The FBI and other intelligence agencies soon invade the island, whose locals and off-season life Craig depicts with his usual humor and affection. Spies, bombs, gun fights and a high-speed car chase keep the action moving.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This long-running series offers many satisfactions, not the least of which is Craig's constants: J. W., striving mightily to be a fisherman and family man but always being drawn into whatever mischief is afoot on Martha's Vineyard; plots that don't stretch credulity; and fine local color. This time, with Christmas approaching, J. W. finds it necessary to move his wife and kids out of their house when an old Indian buddy from Vietnam needs to hide his tracks for awhile. Joe Begay has done covert work for some years, and when three of the five operators who worked with him die suddenly, he sends his own family away and asks J. W. to help. A beautiful Eurasian agent, a lot of suits from D.C., and J. W.'s tentative forays onto the Internet (aided by his young children) all come into play, as our hero attempts to resolve the situation in time for his family to return home for the holidays. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There was a time when the tourist season on Martha's Vineyard pretty much began on the Fourth of July and ended on Labor Day. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visit from the Easter Bunny May 30 2005
By Karen Potts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Most of Philip Craig's Martha's Vineyard Mysteries take place in the warmer months, but in a change of pace, this one takes place in December. Just as J.W. Jackson and his family are contemplating the Christmas season, J.W. receives a visit from his old Army buddy Joe Begay, who needs some help. He wants to be picked up on Cape Cod and brought back to Martha's Vineyard without anyone seeing him. J.W. agrees to the task, without understanding why. Joe explains to him that he once did an undercover government job with a team of five people. Three of the team members have died and he is afraid that he may be next, a potential target for an assassin whose nickname is Easter Bunny. Things become even more complicated when the fifth member of the team, a woman named Kate, shows up on the Island, and there are now two people to protect. Author Craig spins a good yarn, complete with a car chase, explosions, and undercover intrigue. This is a welcome addition to the Martha's Vineyard series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars left out in the cold Dec 18 2007
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's winter on the Vineyard, and though the tourists have gone, JW's peace is shattered by the violence threatened against one of his best friends. Isn't it fortunate that he can protect his wife and kids by hiding them away at one of the houses he takes care of for richer summer folk. Naturally, JW feels obligated to assist his friend, at no small risk to himself. This could be the plot of a gripping story, but alas, it's difficult to differentiate one set of killers from another, what with all the deer hunting, covert ops, and holdings at gunpoint on the part of the good guys and the bad. It's also hard to side with a protagonist who finds it necessary to belittle those whose views oppose his own (such as the "crabby, little old ladies" who work for animal rights.) But the worst flaw in Vineyard Prey lies in the character of Kate, a beautiful but arrogant and chillingly amoral secret agent with no visible redeeming qualities. It's astonishing that someone like Kate would make the stupid mistakes that she repeatedly commits. Much less be lucky enough to survive.
The descriptions of Vineyard scenery are the saving, evocative grace of this otherwise heartless novel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thinner juices Nov. 11 2007
By Roger Long - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The early books of the Martha's Vineyard series were delightful, filled with sand and sunshine and a nice murder for J.W. Jackson to solve. Apparently the creative juices had thinned considerably by the time Mr. Craig came to the last volumes and he thought to go international. It is a disappointment. If this were the first Craig book I had read, I wouldn't bother with going back to read the others.

There is considerable editorializing that has nothing to do with the plot. In earlier books Craig could never resist taking a shot (excuse the word) at those who were not fond of guns, but in this book he comments rather extensively on others he doesn't like, or rather his hero comments, such as, pacifists, vegetarians and people who believe eating meat is wrong. As a Hollywood producer once said, "If you want to send a message, try Western Union." All books, of course, have an ethos, a moral point of view, but it shouldn't be in the form of a rant.

The second flaw, in my view, is in going from a simple murder mystery (as were the early books of the series) into some kind of James Patterson international spy/assassin super-criminal plot. It just didn't work for me. I never believed that the hero's friend, Joe Begay, was some kind of secret agent who traveled the world and became a target for a newly minted Carlos, named "The Easter Bunny." It just felt--well--silly.

As an aside, I do wish mystery/thriller writers would stop using protaganists who are disillusioned, wounded Viet Nam war veterans and ex-cops from a big city who have a bullet in them still and who were there when their partner was killed. Heard it.

What became of the somewhat cozy murder mystery set on idyllic Martha's Vinehard? Perhaps I should go back and and read those volumes again. I recomeend this to others as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read July 3 2006
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
December on Martha's Vineyard means more than holiday preparation. It means deer hunting season. A killer can hardly pick a better time to commit murder than during hunting season when people don orange clothing and walk around openly carrying guns.

So it is in the sixteenth mystery in the series Craig set in his home of Martha's Vineyard. Retired cop J. W. Jackson is visited by old-army-buddy-turned-covert-operations-guy Joe Begay. Begay shares enough of his past with Jackson to tap Jackson's curiosity--and get Jackson's help--in confronting a killer from Begay's past.

Begay is one of five on a secret team who worked together, but three of the five die within a short time. Suspecting he and the remaining member of the team, the man-hungry Kate MacLeod, are next in the killer's murder plans, Begay sends his family away, gets Jackson to help him bait the killer, then waits for the killer to appear.

MacLeod shows up at Begay's door instead, and the plot's twists and turns begin as Craig takes us down one possible road only to switch us to a more plausible path, then to an even more probable trail on our way to discovering the killer.

As you make the journey, you'll be comparing notes with local law enforcement, the FBI, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and J. W. to figure this one out. As if that isn't entertainment enough, you'll also enjoy the humor the author slips in. Even more good news is you don't have to have read the first fifteen in this series to like this one.

Armchair Interviews says: Prolific author Philip Craig does it again, and we are the lucky readers who benefit.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting and fun mystery May 25 2005
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
J.W. Jackson moved his family to Martha's Vineyard to get away from big city life and crime although at times the island resembles the mean city streets. As an ex-city policeman, Jackson takes care of himself which is why Joe Begay, his sergeant when they served in Vietnam, comes to him when he needs help. Jackson smuggles Joe back onto the island after he leaves it and meets up with him at a designated place in Cape Cod.

Joe works for one of the black ops organization and he and five other members of a trade delegation were able to kill two terrorists code named Rudolph and Scarecrow. The Easter Bunny got away and since that mission three of the group has been killed. Begay believes the Easter Bunny is coming after him and Kate, the other surviving member of the mission. Kate left her home after finding poisoned needles on pillows in her home. She came to Martha Vineyard's to work with Joe in taking the Easter Bunny down. Unfortunately Jackson becomes involved in their mission because the killer has linked him to Kate and Joe, putting all three of their lives in danger

VINEYARD PREY is an exciting and fun reading experience because the protagonist keeps getting pulled into a situation that he really wants no part of all the while protesting. He is happy to stay out of the fiasco and just go on with his life. Phillip K. Craig's latest work is more action-packed than usual and it is so easy to become absorbed in the plot that the everyday world fades away.

Harriet Klausner
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