Ferociously independent biology professor, Callahan Banks, is thirty-two years old, six months pregnant, and happily single living in the wilds of her childhood home on Timicau Island, South Carolina. But there are complications. The baby’s father, a wealthy forty-two-year-old bachelor, Pepper Dade, owns the island and is determined to marry her and raise their child together.
When nine-year-old triplets relocate to the island and stumble upon the body of a stranger wrapped in barbed wire and drowned in a tidal creek, the hodgepodge cast of island inhabitants are thrown into a tizzy. From FaLa Jo Digsby, the four-time divorcee who sold Avon from her motorcycle, to Teelia Moultrie, a newly divorced single mother competing for Pepper’s affections, to Chalmers Redpath, a reclusive obstetrician drawing suspicion for his curious architectural eccentricities—everyone on the island seems to have something to hide.
When two more bodies are found, tensions on the island reach a fever pitch. Callahan’s due date is nearing. Pepper is growing more frantic, and Teelia is waiting in the wings. Worse yet, the ever-observant Callahan is starting to suspect that the murderer may be one of the island’s own. Will she keep fighting for her freedom or marry a man she may be learning to love? And can she and her young sidekick, Harry Applegate, the bright outlier in the triplet gang, find the murderer in time?
McDevitt offers just enough mystery and red herrings to keep the reader guessing without overwhelming with gruesome details of the crimes. She draws on her own island-living experiences to create a convincing and enticing setting, luring readers into an idyllic paradise with vividly descriptive prose that evokes the salt air, laughing gulls, and gnarled oak limbs. In Callahan, McDevitt has created a character readers will admire, both for her intellect, her drive, and her unwillingness to marry Pepper, the wealthy (and much sought-after) bachelor, for fear that doing so will put a damper on her sense of independence.
Though their romance simmers throughout the novel, the addition of a host of quirky characters adds to the pleasingly twisty mystery, as Callahan discovers that more than one of the island residents has secrets they want to keep hidden. Alongside the romance and mystery are welcome humorous moments, especially those connected to the triplet boys who ramp up their own detective skills only to find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer.
Takeaway: A fiercely independent pregnant biologist searches for a killer on a remote island.
Great for fans of: Danielle Collins’s Murder Mystery Book Club, Jasmine Webb’s Charlotte Gibson Mysteries series.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A