Review

Unsafe Harbor

by Jessica Speart



As hard as it is to believe, UNSAFE HARBOR is Jessica Speart's 10th
mystery novel to feature Rachel Porter, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Agent who, ironically enough, is a fish out of water. Speart has a
penchant for setting her Porter novels in exotic locales, and
interestingly enough it is Porter's transfer to the Port of New
Jersey after 2005's RESTLESS WATERS and her residence to New York
City that provides Speart and Porter with their most exotic story
background to date.

Speart has wisely and skillfully balanced the familiar and the
exotic in each of the Porter novels, and it is the combination of
these elements that makes UNSAFE HARBOR arguably the best novel to
date in the series. Porter, stuck in the doldrums of Port
Elizabeth, is intrigued when she arrives at her office to find that
the operator of a local canteen truck --- who is also an
acquaintance of Porter's --- has discovered the body of a woman who
is a Manhattan socialite. The body was clad in a shatoosh, a shawl
fashioned illegally from the fur of Tibetan antelopes. Porter,
investigating the illegal import of the shatoosh, learns that the
presence of the highly prized garment is not limited to a single
body but is a status symbol among the Manhattan elite.

Determined to put an end to the importation of the garment at its
source, Porter follows a trail that leads from the penthouses of
Park Avenue to sleazy Eighth Avenue strip clubs, from the Diamond
District to the Garment District, and ultimately back to the ports
of New Jersey, where Porter finds that an incident from her past is
about to have dangerous and deadly implications in the
present.

New York suits Porter well, and given the width and breadth of the
city, it will hopefully serve up enough themes for future novels in
this series for some time to come. An activist who cares deeply
about animal preservation issues, Speart continues her practice of
incorporating facts about animal abuses into her book in a manner
that contributes to the narrative as opposed to interrupting it, so
that the reader comes away from the story both entertained and
educated. This is a series that deserves a wider readership, and
with UNSAFE HARBOR, it should get one.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 24, 2011

Unsafe Harbor
by Jessica Speart

  • Publication Date: September 26, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Avon
  • ISBN-10: 0060559616
  • ISBN-13: 9780060559618