I don’t read many murder mysteries (or, “detective stories” as they are called by someone who is more politically correct), but I thought I’d try Terri Blackstock’s Breaker’s Reef for a change of pace. I knew it wouldn’t be graphic because it is in the “Christian Fiction” genre.
From the back cover:
When a teenage girl’s body is discovered in a boat between Tybee Island and Cape Refuge, all evidence points to a famous mystery writer who has taken up residence in the small town: Marcus Gibson. After all, ex-con Sheila Caruson discovers that a scene in one of his books perfectly mirrors the brutal crime scene, and Gibson seems just eccentric enough to be murderous.
Police Chief Cade works to confirm the evidence— but more devastation is just around the corner. He and Blair Owens discover a second dead teenager, again paralleling a scene in one of Gibson’s books. Then Sheila’s daughter, Sadie, goes missing.
In a race against time, there are many questions to be answered. Can Cade find the killer before Sadie is murdered too? What connection does Sheila have with the crimes? And is Marcus on of the killers— or is the murdere still walking free, ready to prey on his next victim?
First, I had a hard time getting into the book. I like a book that grabs me quickly and paints a mental picture of what I’m reading so that I am so taken by the story that I forget I’m even reading. Such was not the case with Breaker’s Reef.
Second, I found the plot unbelievable for a large part of the book. The book begins with a rookie cop, age 19, with just a few weeks of training, finding a body in a boat. He totally botches the crime scene (totally contaminated)! He is only verbally reprimanded (a slap on the wrist) because his uncle is prominent.
I got the impression that the police department is minuscule in Cape Refuge, yet somehow, there are “several” patrol cars summoned to the scene of crimes. Maybe the town is supposed to be bigger than I envisioned it??
The second murder is discovered by Cade and his girlfriend…in a cavern that is only accessible by swimming under a part of a wall… far enough underwater that the girlfriend (who has been there countless times throughout her life) isn’t sure she can make it without running out of breath. There are a number of ridiculous details in this scene. Cade previously set up the cave with flowers (how do you swim that far underwater with roses and not destroy them?), a message inscribed on the wall (“Will you marry me?”) and an engagement ring in a clam shell (which he plans to ‘plant’ in a nook in the wall for his girlfriend to ‘find’). Instead of the romantic (if implausible) proposal, they find a girl’s body, floating, tethered to the wall (how does one swim that far underwater with a dead body in tow?).
I’m sure I’m just being OCD about the details, but I need a story to be believable! This one wasn’t in many ways. Can’t recommend this one, folks.
*I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. They might regret having sent me this one! 🙂