Ever since my beloved, steam-driven Kindle died last year, I have been filing its contents and transferring books and documents to the new one. As a result I have frequently lost the thread of what prompted me to download titles. There’s so much to read now. And so often you can get quality work for little or no money. Which is all to say I have no idea now how I came across this book by Jean Harrod. During my new-Kindle reload I deleted all samples of books that weren’t number 1 in their series (and resisted the temptation to go looking for that first book). But for some reason I had already bought this. It may have been free at the time. It is still only a measly £1.99 ($2.40 in the US). Why did I do that, when I usually find crime novels rather tedious? Which is all to say that there is plenty of mystery attached to my simply having this book to read.
Well, I can tell you my instincts were spot on, yet again [preens]. This is a rollicking good read. I like to learn something new whatever I read. This time I learned about the Turks and Caicos Islands, British diplomacy in faraway places, how an ambassador runs their office, and a little bit about voodoo that I didn’t know.
Jess Turner is sent to the Turks and Caicos as temporary Deputy Ambassador when the actual Ambassador suffers serious injuries in a car accident and his deputy departs at short notice to deal with a family emergency back in the UK. Jess finds herself on an island where tensions are already running high for reasons she initially cannot fathom. Said tensions are palpable even within the embassy. Everybody has a secret. Gradually these begin to emerge. Was the Ambassador’s accident really an accident? Jess is a feisty sort who is not afraid to ask hard questions. The sort of questions which long term residents haven’t asked for years.
Jean’s position and the powers it carries with it enable her to research into what is going on as people disappear and the body count mounts. Eventually she puts it all together and puts her own life in danger as she tries to bring back order out of the chaos surrounding her, in the midst of a hurricane.
Fortunately she has help from a colleague from her past (which adventure constituted Book 1, I presume). Boy, do they have chemistry. But Jess has a partner back home. Indeed, she had to cancel a holiday with him to take on this emergency posting. But why isn’t he answering her calls? And why has his secretary gone on holiday at the same time?
Considering how lightly this is written, the violence, when it comes, is quite dark and graphic. That apart it makes a perfect bedtime read. Its characters are well-rounded, it is full of intrigue, interesting information, and a little romance.