Justin Charles and Co. Jun 2003, 24.95 301 pp.
Forced into an early retirement, former DEA agent Jack Merchant wastes time passing aimlessly sailing in the waters off Charleston, Massachusetts. He is bored and knows he is stuck in a watery rut, but though he loathes what has become of him, Jack seems unable to do anything but languish in self-pity.
Repo woman Sarah Ballard offers Jack a deal that if he fails to accept he will lose his sloop the Lila as she possesses the past due bank notes. Sarah knows Jack from an encounter five years ago and uses his debt as a blackmail tool to obtain his help as her own business teeters on the brink of failure. In one week, MassBank demands she locate former Veep Paul Baylor and his wife, who apparently embezzled bank cash or else. Sarah and Jack begin the quest to find the Baylors, but soon end up in the same knotted mess that has engulfed their prey.
The sleuthing is well done and exciting and that alone should hook the audience, as the investigation is as complex as it gets because it seems so straightforward and simple. However, the key to this delightful maritime mystery is the cast. Not only do the lead duo and the vanished pair come across as genuine, especially THE REPO woman, but the support crew provides depth whether they are in Massachusetts or not. Bill Eidson writes a powerful tale that readers will demand more rough sailing from this talented author.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner