I had no clue what to expect when I received Collateral Damage by H. Terrell Griffin from the publisher. All I knew was that it was a mystery. What I found was a very pleasant surprise. I was a huge fan of John D. MacDonald’s Florida-based Travis McGee mystery series and I found Collateral Damage to be the same type of novel. Collateral Damage is part of a series of mysteries; however, it works well as a stand-alone novel. And one lucky reader will win an ARC (advance reader’s copy).
Longboat Key on Florida’s Gulf Coast is one of those typical small-town, laid-back beach communities where nothing ever happens and people like it that way. It’s a great place to retire or vacation. Jim and Meredith Desmond decided it would be a wonderful place to spend their honeymoon, and it is – right up until the moment Jim decides to go for a morning jog and gets murdered by a sniper.
“Cotty took the chair next to Logan, across from me. ‘I guess you heard about the guy getting shot on the beach this morning.’ I hadn’t. Cotty knew everything that happened on the island, and often knew it before anybody else. No one ever figured out how she knew so much so quickly.”
A few days later Dulcimer, a paddle-boat dinner cruise, runs aground in the shoals. After the passengers are picked up by Coast Guard, it’s discovered three people have been murdered on that cruise: the captain, the husband of another passenger, and a young woman. On the surface, it appears Longboat Key might have a serial murderer running around but nothing seems to tie the events together.
Matt Royal might not have gotten involved except for two things. He and a buddy were out doing some night fishing when Dulcimer, with its ill-fated dinner cruise, almost ran over their small boat. They witnessed all of the lights going out just before the boat rammed a sandbar. As passengers screamed Matt contacted the Coast Guard. Then he and his buddy helped rescue passengers who’d fallen overboard and made sure they got back to land. There was a lot about that incident that didn’t add up in his mind.
“As I passed amidships of Dulcimer, she went dark. The lights and sounds quit at the same instant. No lights on the decks, no running lights. Nothing. A ghost ship was slipping by my port side, dark and foreboding. The sounds of surprised guests getting louder as panic set in.”
Then Doc, who had saved Matt’s life during the Vietnam War, told Matt that his son was the one who had been murdered while jogging, and asked ex-attorney Matt to file a civil lawsuit against whoever was responsible. Well at that point, Matt had to investigate what happened and if Matt got involved then you could bet he was going to call on all of his old cronies to bring their special skills to the table to help him figure out what happened. Of course none of them knew how complicated and dangerous this new mission would become.
Collateral Damage has enough plot twists to please any mystery fan. This is a character-driven novel and that is where its strengths lie. Matt Royal and his buddies are extremely likeable and interesting characters who have the chops to get the job done, no matter how many twists and turns the road may take. If you had any doubt that baby boomers will rewrite aging, this novel will certainly dispel you of that myth.
Collateral Damage is being released today, December 5, 2011, so it should be available from your favorite bookseller below. Just click the button to take you there so you can get it.
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1 person will win an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Collateral Damage by H. Terrell Griffin.
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