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SHIVER HITCH
by Linda Greenlaw
Minotaur, June 2017
288 pages
$24.99
ISBN: 1250107563


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This is Jane Bunker's first winter in Maine (as an adult) and it's quite an adjustment from south Florida, where she used to work. Her mother left Maine when Jane was a kid, and Jane has heard nothing since then to make her want to track down her relatives. When she's sent to Acadia Island to document a house fire for the insurance company, Jane really hopes she doesn't have to confront her past; she's not ready for that just yet. She gets her wish, this time, and instead of family, she stumbles across a corpse. One might think, considering Jane's background in police work, that she might consider the possibility of something other than accidental death. She doesn't even consider arson, which seems odd.

Based on the results of some tests, the fire is determined to be arson. Autopsy results indicate the body was dead before the fire, so this is now arson/murder. Jane, again working on some invalid assumptions, brings in a woman for questioning. This involves spending a very long night on a small boat in some perfectly awful weather. So it's back to Acadia Island for the third time. Again, Jane makes assumptions, although this time there is some evidence to support her theories. Her theories aren't correct and still the murderer is apprehended.

The characters in SHIVER HITCH are believable. This is a definite plus, because Jane's tendency to make the clues fit her theories is not. One would think that her years on the force in Florida would have better equipped her for police work, or at least taught her to cover more of the bases than just the one she wants. Her landlords are a hoot, although how much they will be around when it's not the dead of winter is a crap shoot. Bringing Jane's Down's Syndrome brother back into her life bodes well for future books in the series; if nothing else, he will force Jane to step away from her job(s) more often. Maine, and the weather thereof, is relevant to the plot of SHIVER HITCH. It takes Jane out of her comfort zones, emotionally and physically. This serves to help her grow as a character and moves the story along as weather forces actions that might not otherwise have been taken. This is the third book in the series. There are many positive elements in Greenlaw's writing to take one past the mental lapses of her main character.

§ I have been reading and reviewing mystery fiction for over a quarter of a century and read broadly within just about all genres and sub-genres. I have been a preliminary judge for the Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s Press Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Contest for at least 25 years. I live in Northern lower Michigan with my spousal unit, one large cat, and 2 fairly small dogs. My Sherlockian (BSI) nom-de-plume is VR; my license plate is BSI VR

Reviewed by PJ Coldren, June 2017

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