A DANGEROUS HARBOR
Bleary-eyed and sleep deprived after a long overnighter into Mexico, solo sailor and SFPD police detective, Katrina Hunter, thinks the mermaid twenty yards behind her thirty-two foot Westsail is nothing more than a sailor’s hallucination But everything she knows about floaters convinces her to turn her boat around for another look
Now, alone and isolated in the Mexican port’s police station for six hours she’s convinced that reporting the body of a floater to authorities was a mistake. Even the arrival of a handsome, if somewhat dour, Mexican/Italian investigator does nothing to dispel her growing anxiety that she’s about to be charged with the murder.
Chief Inspector, Raul Vignaroli, is as surprised by the attractive solo-sailor as he is to find that she’s a respected member of the San Francisco police force, and after some well-placed phone calls he’s sure that he’s found the perfect partner to help him solve a murder, if not the cure for his broken heart.
Released, she’s free to go. But leaving the police station hits a snag when two policemen march in, dragging a listless prisoner between them. But before Katy can dodge them for the exit, the prisoner raises his head and a startling pair of aquamarine eyes meet hers.
He straightens his back, wincing at the angle of his cuffed wrists. “What the… Whisper?”
Suddenly, the sound of the ceiling fan is terribly loud. Blood pounds in her ears, her mouth goes dry, her palms are damp and her feet are nailed to the floor. In a knee jerk reaction, she hisses, “Don’t call me that!”
Rebecca is a well established and respected author in the romantic mystery/suspense genre.
She was raised on the family crop dusting ranch in California USA, although these days, she lives with her husband in Arizona USA.
She started writing way back in 1994, although a family tragedy curtailed her writing for many years after the publication of A Dead Red Cadillac, until she felt able to pick up her pen again in 2010, when A Dangerous Harbor was conceptualised and A Dead Red Heart was finally completed.
Rebecca set up a chapter of SINC (‘Sisters In Crime Inc’) in her home town, adding to the some 48 chapters which exist all over the world. SINC is an organisation of about 3600 members in 48 chapters world-wide and founded in 1986, offering networking, advice and support to mystery authors. It comprises authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians bound by their affection for the mystery genre and their support of women who write mysteries. The aims of the organisation are to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.
Rebecca is also an accomplished artist.
“Sail away to exotic lands with this ‘cozy’ romantic murder/mystery”
Having checked out the synopsis and read several existing reviews, prior to accepting A Dangerous Harbor for review, I wasn’t really expecting that it would turn out to be a serious piece of police procedural work, or for that matter too gruesome a thriller story. A ‘cozy’ romantic/suspense novel was what I was expecting and that was exactly what I got.
Whilst the storyline did touch on the many very real and sadly all too prevalent issues of abduction, murder, forced prostitution, rampant police corruption and the ever present power of the drug cartels; which still exist in modern day Mexico; it was dealt with by the author on a very superficial level, which left me wanting to delve more deeply into this troubled society. I wish that there had been a little more in depth knowledge and research, just to flesh out the bare bones a bit more and offer more substance and authority to the narrative, however, it did whet my appetite to find out more.
Despite the fact that A Dangerous Harbor did not offer a very sophisticated plotline, the story was very fast paced, complex and action packed, with many twists and turns, which kept me guessing right until the end … and my assumption as to the identity of the murderer, certainly wasn’t the right one.
Our heroin, Katrina Hunter, is a strong character when she wants to be, yet is very vulnerable in her hitherto disastrous private life and is delusional in her belief and hope that she can simply sail away into foreign waters and hope to escape the mistakes she has made in her recent past, which have put her continued career in the SFPD on the line.
Chief Inspector Raul Vignaroli seems convinced that Katrina is the ideal partner to help him solve a local murder, albeit in a location which is predominantly populated by US citizens, any one of which may well be the killer. However I found myself questioning Katrina’s commitment to her police service career, as she revives past mistakes, begins to let her heart rule her head for a second time and places more importance on her personal life than on her career.
The sizzling sexual tension between Raul and Katrina continually threatens to overpower the murder investigation, with Katrina also waging her own private battle with past relationships and jealousies, and Raul desperately trying to overcome personal grief and tragedy in order to free his heart so that he can move on with his life and love again.
The murder suspects pile up thick and fast and even manage to inject a modicum of humour into the whole story, with their vast array of dysfunctional personalities and hidden agendas. We are introduced to undercover FBI agents, IRS investigators, as well as the murderer themselves, all forming part of a steady stream of slightly larger than life characters, who move from the wings to centre stage, act out their individual scenes, then depart again.
None of these individual characterisations holds up too well under scrutiny and all are a little one dimensional, without a great deal of depth, however with the real murderer being able to remain hidden amongst this melee of self-centred individuals, I certainly didn’t spot them until they were eventually unmasked by Katrina.
In conclusion, A Dangerous Harbor is a fast paced, sexy sizzler, with a little mystery and intrigue added to the mix, not to be taken too seriously and great as a book to cozy up with on a cold winters evening, or as a summer beach read.
This romantic mystery/suspense book, was gifted as an author request for me to read and leave my comments about and as such was free of charge.
This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the book, in any blog article I may post. Any thoughts or comments will be my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.
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