VINEYARD STALKER (Unlic. Invest.-J.W. Jackson-Martha’s Vineyard, MA-Cont) – Ex
Craig, Philip R. – 20th (Last) in series
Scribner, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780743270458
First Sentence: Zee and the kids had gone to America to visit Zee’s parents in Fall River, so I was having breakfast in the Dock Street Coffee Shop listening to Chad Martin trying to decide just which of Martha’s Vineyard’s public institutions was the most maddening.
With his family away, ex-cop J.W. Jackson is open to helping one of the town’s realtors. Her sister controls a valuable parcel of land she’d like to sell to developers. The only thing stopping her is their brother Roland, a Vietnam Vet, who lives a simple life there on the terms of a trust. Someone has been vandalizing the property in an effort to encourage Roland to leave. A wealthy neighbor and Roland’s lover, turns up dead but J.W. doesn’t believe Roland is the killer and set’s to prove it.
It is sad knowing this is the last book Mr. Craig authored alone before his passing, but it is also a wonderful tribute to him. I do feel this was his best book and not because it is the last book. Perhaps because the family wasn’t there, it was very much J.W. detecting on his own and seemed to have a bit darker tone to it. None of Craig’s classic elements were missing; not the humor, or the recipes or the wonderful sense of place he creates or the solid development of the characters. I, too, knew people who fought in Vietnam and appreciated the way Craig handled the character of Roland. The end surprised me but didn’t. One can easily read this book as a standalone, and I highly recommend you do.