Dade County Chief of Detectives Jane Bunker feels no regret at leaving her rising career as a homicide detective. More than a decade spent chasing down drug runners in speed boats and hauling illegals in inner tubes ashore in her Miami beat has left her yearning for a less stressful career. The peace and quiet of the sleepy little coastal Maine fishing village of her childhood beckons.
The pay cut as a marine insurance inspector is worth it. She has missed the winter snows, the cool summers, and the opportunity to touch base with her old friends and family.
She has barely moved into a tiny apartment above a tourist trap gift shop with a view of the harbor when she starts her first day of work, checking out a fish processing plant for a policy renewal. It is dawn, and as she walks around the building, she sees a body washed up on the beach in front of the plant and a small group of people clustered around. She recognizes the victim as a man who raised a ruckus at a community meeting the night before. Her police instincts kick in, and she starts taking notes and asking questions of the locals, who look upon her nosiness with little favor. The death is ruled as an accidental drowning or a possible suicide, but her instincts tell her otherwise. She convinces the local authorities to take a closer look at his death, embroiling herself further into the case.
The village’s fishing industry is threatened by outside conditions. Over-fishing is depleting once-abundant supplies of popular food fish, and a profitable offshore wind farm for electrical generation is being proposed that has come up against local fishermen as a threat to their livelihood. The body on the shore is that of a proponent of the wind farm who made no secret of his interests at the meeting.
Jane tries to stay out of the investigation, carried out by a handful of small town would-be cops, but when clues quite literally fall into her lap, she feels compelled to do some checking on her own. She soon discovers that drug running, blackmail and smuggling activities are not confined to the big cities.
In a lively, fast-paced adventure, Jane soon finds herself in personal jeopardy as she peels back the cover-up of fraud, embezzlement and illegal environmental activity. As she is drawn deeper into the investigation, her life is endangered as she stows away on a fishing boat. A heart-pounding fight for survival during an ocean gale very nearly ends Jane’s career as an insurance inspector --- and her life.
Linda Greenlaw has written three bestselling nonfiction books: THE HUNGRY OCEAN, THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES and ALL FISHERMEN ARE LIARS. She was the real-life swordfish boat captain who survived THE PERFECT STORM by Sebastian Junger. Don’t let Greenlaw’s petite appearance fool you. Her considerable skills as a tough fishing boat captain, successful writer and cook (she co-authored a cookbook with her mother, RECIPES FROM A VERY SMALL ISLAND) make her an icon among successful women.
In SLIPKNOT, Greenlaw’s first mystery, we are introduced to the intriguing and diverse cast of characters of Green Haven, Maine. I would like to predict that we will see more of our insurance inspector/sleuth Jane Bunker.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on June 19, 2007