MYSTERY

Nantucket Penny

Poisoned Pen. Jul. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781464214165. pap. $15.99. M
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It’s autumn on Nantucket, the tourists have gone, and the residents have the island to themselves to sell drugs, paint racist slogans on houses, shoot up the school, and run away from their marriages. At least, that’s how it appears to police chief Henry Kennis, who left California for a quiet small-town police force. He brushes it off when he hears from Australia that five women resembling his fiancée, mystery writer Jane Stiles, have been murdered, and a copy of one of Jane’s novels was found near one of the bodies. Kennis brings in protection for Jane, and a friend saves Jane’s life by shooting a man who tried to kill her. Darker things are happening on the island. People are disappearing, and pennies are found in the home of each disappeared victim. Because he’s a transplant to the island, Henry doesn’t connect these cases until it’s almost too late. Then Jane is kidnapped, and Henry realizes that all of the disappeared went to high school together and are connected by several horrid events. Unable to trust his own police department, Henry recruits two unorthodox assistants to rescue the townspeople who are on trial for their lives.
VERDICT Kennis is hard on himself in this follow-up to Nantucket Counterfeit. The mystery has a nail-biter of a climax that will appeal to most audiences, but its many story lines and large cast will be appreciated only by regular readers of the series.
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