Dead in the Water
Living in a whale town with businesses that give tours about sharks and whales sounds exciting. The author shares her knowledge of sharks, dolphins and other sea animals as the novel starts. Sidney Riley is a wedding planner at an upscale hotel, but her parents are visiting, and her mother is critical and demanding leaving her with the hope they will leave real soon. Taking a tour with her mother while her father remained at the hotel took more than counting to 10 not to explode. Always critical of most situations’ things get tense when they return to the hotel. Her close friend is the chief of police and learning about a kidnapping of the owner of the Dolphin Fleet gets her curiosity up. Glenn the owner of the hotel received a kidney from this man, they are not friends but when the kidnappers asked who to tell and contact Vincent Almada said Glenn. Added in they want his wife to deliver the ransom money, but she seems to be missing too.
Sidney gets embroiled in this situation and insists on helping to find Vincent. When the FBI becomes involved they are not happy that Glenn wants her to be a part of the investigation. Added in her friend Mirela adopted her sister’s baby and now her boyfriend, Guy Husband has returned to town adding more intrigue and suspense to the plot. He disappeared and she had no idea what happened until Sidney told her he was back in Provincetown after spending time in prison. Bad business decision and things get out hand when Guy explains his reasons for being in prison, the fact that his company was and still is into searching for shipwrecks and bringing up artifacts. He seems to have the pulse on what might have caused the kidnapping. Thinking out loud to Sidney who reluctantly has dinner with him she learns about a possible link to the Lima Family in New Bedford whose dealings even though the head is in prison might have decided to take aim at Dolphin Fleet for their own monetary gain.
Poaching big commercial rigs our of New Bedford, scalloping right off Herring Cove. The people of Provincetown were not happy and complained and the New Bedford did whatever they did. Many of the boats had high tech combination dragger and state of the art rigs just kept coming. New Bedford has been the largest producer of sea scallops in the states and might have a link to what happened to Vincent or did they?
Marcos Lima is known as the Codfather and has over numerous years put together a fishing empire our of New Bedford with a whole fleet of boats he owned in one way or another. He is a powerful man even in prison. He might be in jail but that does not mean he has lost his edge or connections. He might be the one who is orchestrating it from prison. He might want the Dolphin Fleet. Was he behind the kidnapping? Added in Sidney is trying to hide the fact that he was kidnapped because her sister was, and it is still hard for her and her parents to come to terms with what happened to her. The author shares her thoughts, we get to know Alexandra in flashbacks and photographs the hardest sent with the demand letter.
Julie Agassi is the Chief of police who had to deal with the guests at the hotel who were being inconvenienced, the staff, the FBI and the state troopers who were now all a part of this investigation. Glenn was limited and wanted to just run away from it all but could not.
Meet Marie Almada a barracuda and appears to not really care that her husband is dead and had been kidnapped. Her demeanor is harsh, rude and you wonder if she even cares that he is gone. Looking at the Federal Agents as inconsequential but still paying attention you get the feeling that they were not astute and had no idea where to begin. Explaining that he was abducted, and that Glenn was going to pay the random, and reminding Glenn of what Vincent did for him, did not endear you to her at all. Telling her he was held on a boat you can tell she was holding back information. His body washed up under MacMillian Pier, but she had a cold way of handling this and just wanted to get on with his funeral preparations. You get the feeling she is hiding something.
What exactly is whale watching which is at the heart of this novel? Vincent, Marie sated owned the fleet but did not manage it. He left it to others.
Her mother, Frances seems entranced with sea life and wants to go on many tours which are costly. Kai is the scientist at the Center for Coastal Studies, and she finds him intelligent and handsome. Meanwhile the author reminds us the Mirela must decide how to deal with Guy but all that changes when Ali, Sidney’s boyfriend comes into the picture and Mirela changes directions with Guy but why?
Nothing like more excitement when we learn that Vincent had another wife named Clara who comes into town like a ball of fire. If you think Marie is tough wait until the two come into the same room and the sparks fly. Clara is the one who will get it all. Clara Benevides and she is now going to register at Race Point Inn to add to the controversies, the animosities and create her own take on what she thinks will happen to Dolphin Fleet which is all hers. But let us not forget that Sidney is right in the thick of the investigation and her boyfriend Ali has his own take on how this should be handled. She seems at times left out and yet she manages to speculate and come up with interesting thoughts as well as trying to make sure her parents are taken care of, go on tours so she can attempt to do her job as wedding planner and investigate the murder. The Almadas and the family of the Limas have a past was this why he was killed? The author shares how Vincent met Clara and how their marriage was before he was killed. It sounded more like one of convenience than love. Divorce was not the problem and then he met Marie. Clara inherited the fleet did Marie want it after all. Guy Husband thinks the Lima operation in New Bedford might be involved and that Clara is from New Bedford means it might be worth checking out.
Ali is figuring out how oner person can get killed in a small town with a small number of suspects and very personal agendas I one thing. But why such a low ransom? Things get tense for Sidney when her mother seems to become too involved in the tours, her life and then Ali springs something on them they did not expect. The case about her sister’s disappearance was going to be opened after all this time and he was going to try and find out what really happened to her. Things get dangerous for Sidney and someone involved was hiding in plain sight and she because of her curiosity and her wanting to become a sleuth might make her the next victim of the killer. Clara is found dead and then someone decides to kidnap Sidney, and will she be saved or will the reasons why this person did what they did remain dead in the water along with the body of Vincent Almada.
Lives change, her parents causing her stress at times, her mother overly critical and her life in danger but just what happened to her sister will finally be revealed at the end and the shock and surprise ending will lead to believe that there is much more in store for Sidney and some endings are open ended like this one. Will Guy and Mirela remain together? Will he disappear again? What really happened to her sister? Will her mother ever stop staying: Do not take that tone with me? Will Sidney ever say yes to Ali or will she continue the same path? Nerves are shot, lives are lost and the important thing for everyone to remember when getting stressed as my sister would tell me, and Sidney would agree: JUST BREATHE and beware you never know when you might find someone DEAD IN THE WATER.
The author takes us on many tours, the research is well documented, and we hope she brings Sydney back again.