Captain Em Ridge is thrilled to have her first job since she got her Coast Guard captain’s license, but after a week underway, it looks as if it might be her last. A billionaire’s daughter, Kricket, goes overboard and if that weren’t bad enough, she was dead before she hit the water, killed by mushroom poisoning.
The plot takes a number of unexpected turns, which include Em’s discovering that her husband’s death two years earlier, supposedly from a kayaking accident was no accident. Was her husband having an affair? Was everything she thought she knew about him a lie?
Em is a very strong character, well-defined, with strengths as well as weaknesses. She really resonated with me and I was hooked from the opening of the novel when Em is wakened from a dream about her dead husband to discover that Kricket is missing.
I learned a lot about boats, small and large, power and sail, and all the details added to the authenticity of the tale. The mystery is very well crafted, with plenty of suspects, so that Em is caught wondering just whom to trust. She takes on more of the investigation than is safe, but she is so worried about her husband’s death that she keeps searching, keeps asking questions, keeps getting in deeper and deeper.
The pacing is excellent, as the tension builds bit by bit. We see Em as she interacts with a number of people, so I felt as if I really got to know her. And I liked her neighbors, the sisters who argue, the aged widower, and others. They lent an authenticity and believability to the entire story.
The setting is very well-drawn and the fact that Em lives on a remote piece of land which requires a ferry at high tide adds not only realism but suspense. She doesn’t live far from Portland, Maine, but the geography becomes an added character in the story as Em has to navigate the terrain.
Mystery lovers are in for a real treat with Night Watch, which is promised to be the first in a series. I sure hope more books follow quickly as I really want to travel the seas with Em again soon.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.