Vineyard Prey: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery Hardcover – Jun 7 2005
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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.
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
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The descriptions of Vineyard scenery are the saving, evocative grace of this otherwise heartless novel.
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.
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.
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.