– I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. –
Jane Bunker thought she’d escaped the pollution, noise, and dead bodies of the big city when she left her job as a Miami homicide detective and moved back to the idyllic town of Green Haven, Maine. But through her work as a marine insurance investigator, it appears she s left behind the bustle of the city, but not the murder.
When Jane is called to the remote Acadia Island to assess the damages from a house fire, she also finds a badly burned body in the charred rubble, and it turns out that the victim is the owner of the house, a wealthy woman who just happens to be one of the most hated women in town. As Jane investigates further, she becomes embroiled in a plot as thick as New England clam chowder, which involves convicted felons, a real estate scam, and the deep conflicts between the locals and the summer folks. On top of trying to find what might be a murderer on the loose, Jane is still living with her bonkers landlords, the Vickersons, who are delighted when Jane finds out that her brother Wally (who has Down s syndrome) is going to move in with them, after losing his assisted living arrangement. It’s all Jane can do to keep all the moving pieces together, much less figure out who would want to burn someone alive and why.
I chose this book because…
St. Martin’s Press reached out to a few book reviewers to ask if they were interested in being mailed a hardcover copy of Shiver Hitch to read and review. After a slow reading month in May, a mystery to suck me in was exactly what I needed, so I said yes! You know I love anything that shares the genre of Criminal Minds. It’s the third book of the Jane Bunker Mystery series, but it looks like each book is an individual case, so hopefully it won’t matter too much if I haven’t yet read the previous books.
(Milestone: First hardcover book received in the mail for review!!! First physical copy of a book ever received in the mail for review in fact. I haven’t even ever received a paperback in the mail for review. All the books I’ve reviewed so far have been e-galleys, which is quick and efficient, but I always love a physical book.)
Upon reading it…
It started off a little slow and took about 70 pages to get to the conflict that I was looking for after having read the blurb. Maybe because I watch too much Criminal Minds, the mystery… I wouldn’t say that it was flat, but it didn’t feel very nuanced. Jane Bunker started off very dismissive, which is a weak trait for a detective and also an unrealistic trait considering her experience. When a new piece of evidence was revealed to prove her lead incorrect, it would only take a short explanation from someone to convert her from the lead she was so hellbent on. She has a one track mind and only follows one lead at a time. But then when she’s proven wrong, she’ll be like, oh maybe I shouldn’t have dismissed this possibility, so I can appreciate that meta aspect, but does that make it any better? It doesn’t really mean anything if she’s always saying that. Another thing was that I didn’t find her brother Wally a necessary character to the novel and wasn’t really invested in that storyline.
That being said, I’m just being nitpicky. It was satisfying at the end when everything was revealed and we found out what the different characters were trying to hide/trying to show/send a message about, and why and how they carried themselves and did what they did. This was a solid mystery novel and a quick read. If you like mysteries and are looking for something light, this might be the book for you!
Oh yeah, and I was able to follow along fine without reading the previous books in the series.
If you like this book, you might like…
A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders
People make more of what is unsaid than what is said.
Here I was, a short boat ride to the truth, but unable to climb aboard; my fear of disillusionment crippling.
To my mind, only the best of friends will agree to a favor before knowing what it is.
The best and worst times of my life had been defined publicly as “Fine, thanks.”
I always came down on the side of being good. After all, if I attributed my life to luck, I would have to believe that someday my luck would run out. And that would make it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
No reason to be frightened. Dead people never harmed anyone; only the living did.