Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk“ to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).
This week I am highlighting Michaela Thompson, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Riptide: a Florida Panhandle Mystery, which I reviewed on Goodreads and received through free download from BookBub. This novel was published by booksBnimble on March 5, 2014. She consistently runs approximately 3.5-4 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.
Originally posted October 22, 2016
As intricate as a fisherman’s net, Riptide fairly writhes with sinister delights—family secrets, family feuds, lost family fortunes, betrayals, puzzles, sunken treasure… and murder, of course. With a bit of illicit romance and treachery thrown in for seasoning. This rife atmosphere swirls around New York artist Isabel Anders, who’s summoned home to tiny St. Elmo, Florida to deal with an emergency: the aunt who raised her has been brutally—and mysteriously—injured.
Isabel arrives to find the family mansion in ruins, her aunt living in a trailer, and, dangerous as a cottonmouth, the lover she left at sixteen just where he used to be. Waiting for her. Except now he’s got a grudge against her, a secret of his own, and some unsavory companions. Just when Isabel’s aunt seems to be getting better (but before she’s able to talk again) she dies just as mysteriously as she was injured. Suspecting murder, Isabel quickly ties her aunt’s death to another.
But to find the killer, she has to hack her way through a small-town jungle of intrigue and several generations of interrelated secrets, producing hours of pulse-pounding delight for the confirmed puzzle fan.
WHO WILL LIKE IT: Fans of Laura Lippman, Kate Atkinson, intelligent cozies like those by G.M. Malliett, Elizabeth Zelvin, and Gillian Roberts, British puzzlemeisters like the great Dorothy L. Sayers herself, all BBC mysteries, and of course, Michaela Thompson’s own Hurricane Season.
So the story doesn’t move with the speed of a hurricane, but there is a slow building of character, setting, and backstory to clarify the reason for Isabel to reluctantly return to Cape St. Elmo and to an aunt that raised her with an iron fist.
Protagonist Isabel is a New York artist whose idea of love is an uncomplicated romp in the hay with an older French gentleman or a former high school sweetheart who she had left without so much as a kiss goodbye. Isabel is not a character that elicits a lot of empathy, though the plot does develop some side characters with enough sympathy to fill the void. Kimmie Dee seems to be the typical kid, and it’s obvious she still loves her dad, though he’s not exactly a rocket scientist. Former high school sweetheart isn’t one either and he is unhappy…just plain unhappy, so he is easy…just…easy.
The dialogue reflecting the intellect of the various characters takes on an interesting hue. Her hapless aunt, Merriam, has done the best she could and though no love lost, leaves Isabel knowing her death wasn’t a natural one. The antagonist was perhaps obvious, though certainly not the one we wanted to be the villain.
A treasure hunt begins rather early, and weaves in and out of the story, but it leaves a dissatisfying climax and a disappointing solution to characters that were hoped would fare better. A somewhat quirky, disquieting venture; but generates enough interest to keep turning pages. Mystery, treasure, and amateur sleuths, but you can’t really call it a cozy. Any redeeming qualities in the protagonist? hmm…I can’t think of any.
About the Author:
(Michaela Thompson) I’ve written seven mystery-suspense novels, set in wide-ranging locales: Hurricane Season and Riptide explore the beaches and swamps of the Florida Panhandle, where I grew up; Paper Phoenix features a romance between a disillusioned divorcee and a much younger crusading journalist in 70’s San Francisco; a failure analyst chases private demons to India in Fault Tree; a group of friends plays a deadly game at the Venice Carnival in Venetian Mask; and Magic Mirror and A Temporary Ghost recount the dangerous adventures of freelance journalist Georgia Lee Maxwell, who moves to France with her cat on a whim and ends up solving murders in Paris and Provence. All are now available as e-books.
I’ve been a mystery fan my entire life. I love the form because it’s endlessly flexible, yet the structure is always there.
I live in New York City, but spend significant time in the Florida Panhandle. My novels were originally published under the name Mickey Friedman.
More Throwback Thursday Blogs
Renee at Its Book Talk
Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe
Rebecca at The Book Whisperer
Lynne at Fictionophile
Sam at Clues and Reviews
Holly B at Dressedtoread
Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews
Amanda at Literary Weaponry
Annie at The Misstery
Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll
Laurie at Cozy Nook Books
Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine
Susan at Susan Loves Books
Cathy at What Cathy Read Next
Cathy at Between the Lines
Amy at Novel Gossip
Diana at A Haven for Booklovers
©2018 V Williams (P.S.) I still have guests–hope to catch up with everyone next week!)