Swann’s War

Dzanc. Oct. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781950539604. $26.95. M
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Oren (To All Who Call in Truth) sets this bleak, character-driven story with a complex protagonist in an isolated New England island community. When Mary Beth Swann’s husband enlists during World War II, she steps into his position as police captain in Fourth Cliff. She had been on the Boston police force, but being one of two officers on an island off the coast of Massachusetts is entirely different: the locals resent her, and the fishermen call her names. On bike, she patrols the island and its prison camp for Italian POWs and small military base, but she’s not prepared to investigate a murder when a POW is found wrapped in a fishing net. When two more POWs die, FBI agents arrive to interrogate the island’s residents with brutal tactics. They’re followed by the Mafia, and Mary Beth can only watch, humiliated and unable to act. She’s fired twice and sinks into self-pity before another tragic murder sets her on the right course to find the killer.
VERDICT Fans of Jess Montgomery’s “Kinship” series may appreciate another historical mystery featuring a woman struggling to take over her husband’s role.
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