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by Philip R. Craig
Scribner, June 2006
256 pages
ISBN: 0743270444

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Former Boston cop, JW Jackson, enjoys his Martha's Vineyard lifestyle. JW may not be rich in material things, but he is rich in the things that matter: his family, good friends, and living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. JW doesn't try, but he does tend to get into trouble very easily.

Henry Highsmith and his wife are part-time Vineyard residents who are both dedicated environmentalists. They both decry the proliferation of golf courses and SUVs on the island. If they had their way, everyone would ride bicycles everywhere (as they do) and the golf courses would revert to nature. Of course that isn't going to happen in a million years but it has set up an 'us against them' mentality where the golfers and cyclists are concerned.

JW is introduced to golf by an old friend although he is sure he would rather be fishing. But surprisingly he enjoys the outing enough to return for another round. Earlier JW had a very public confrontation with Highsmith in a fish market; one which he did not instigate. Yet he has heard all the stories making the rounds that he attacked the man and beat him up. So imagine how he feels when one of his foursome finds Highsmith's body in the sand trap when he tries to hit his ball. As one who has fought against golfers for years, being buried in a sand trap must be the ultimate indignity for the quirky Henry Highsmith.

For the prolific Philip Craig, this is the 17th book in the JW Jackson series. The author himself is a Martha's Vineyard resident, and the beauty and mystery of the locale is indeed evident in each book. JW and his family do live the simple life and count among their friends many from all walks of island life.

A visit with them is truly like a return to a beautiful bit of paradise, which, as all the other little corners of paradise, is finding that development is not always a plus. Especially, in JW's eyes at least, the many mansions built by the ultra-rich, and in the process, destroy the old buildings and charm. In many cases, the locals whose family roots are deep can no longer afford to live in their old homes. Living as I do in southwest Florida, I can well appreciate this point of view.

The books are fast and easy to read, good fare for the beach or a rainy afternoon. In their easy-going and laid-back way, we do find many truths within.

Reviewed by Lorraine Gelly, July 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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