While recuperating from a gunshot to his leg, Slater and Maggie are approached by a potential wealthy client by the name of Roland Dunbar. He relates a tragic story of his wife's death and how suspicions of her demise cast shadows upon his innocence due to a payout of a $10 million life insurance policy. Added to the mysterious mix was the loss of his daughter (it seems) during Hurricane Irma. Her body was never found. Rounding out the mysterious circumstances is the sudden appearance of Irma's necklace on the fourth anniversary of the death of Roland Dunbar's former wife. He had recently received in the mail his missing daughter's most prized possession, a necklace. Is it a hoax or is it possible his beloved daughter, Isla could still be alive?
Isla had been presumed dead as she had taken out her boat, the Caroline, trying to move it to safety from the path of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Slater is ready to jump into action. He is intrigued by the case and agrees to take it on. With the help of his partner Maggie, and new to the investigative team Jasmine, they form a tight bond to solve Isla's disappearance. Jasmine, Slater's 17 year old ward, lends a youthful voice filled with brashness and spunk. Her no nonsense style, tells it like it is with a wry sense of humor. It adds some lightness to the story. Each of these main characters provide their own style to the ongoing investigation as they unravel a tragedy that happened years ago.
The mystery is well written with many twists and turns. A web of entanglement is woven with a complicated plot and another subsequent plot develops simultaneously requiring the reader to be very attentive, especially with a large cast of characters introduced along the way. Jones skillfully weaves in clues and motives often throwing the reader off guard just as one thinks the mysterious disappearance has been solved.
Slater and Maggie, the two main characters, have great chemistry. Their developing romantic relationship feels real as well as the dialogue between them. Often it's amusing as they banter back and forth in a playful way adding a comedic release to rising tensions. Slater and Jeffries have formed a good working relationship supporting each other throughout this investigation. Jasmine was introduced in a previous book and her character becomes more developed in this story. Other supporting characters in the story are well rounded with complex personalities and lives. Often they aren't who they seem to be throwing the readers' predictions off.
Jones is adept at propelling the story along creating tension and leaving the the reader to guess at every turn about who is guilty and who might have a hidden agenda. It is a fast paced mystery story that will keep your attention from start to finish. Jones is an emerging literary talent on the local scene.
T.J. Jones resides in the Pequot Lakes area and considers himself fortunate to have had several writing models that nurtured him as he developed his own style: Craig Nagel, local author, was one of Jones's teachers in high school, author Jon Hassler was his literature teacher during his first year of college and author James Casper at Central Lakes College. Jones hopes to keep the Slater momentum going with a total of 5 books in the series. For Jones the best part of the writing process is figuring out how to say what you want to say, seeing it in print, and not a rewrite by someone else. His character driven plots and themes will resonate with diverse audiences who enjoy a good mystery.