Friday, March 23, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Adift on St. John

Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands - Book 1) by Rebecca Hale

Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: cozy mystery
Pages: Paperback, 320pp
ISBN-13: 978-0425246658
ISBN: 425246655

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Rebecca Hale on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from Adrift on St. John (Amazon Look Inside Feature)


No one knows better than resort manager Pen Hofstra that the idea of a tropical paradise is an illusion. So when a young woman named Hannah Sheridan disappears off the island of St. John, she is not surprised that all is not what it seems to be. Pointing out Hannah's resemblance to the Amina Slave Princess from the 1733 slave revolt on St. John—whose ghost is rumored to haunt the island—the local community quickly latches on to the belief that her spirit is behind the sinking and the disappearance...


Rebecca Hale provides readers a cozy of a different color so to speak. Adrift on St. John does not follow the typical cozy patterns and gives readers something different and unique. Though there is no murder in this mystery there is a lot of mayhem, a lot of time frame switching and some quirky island characters that will have cozy fans wishing to be set asea. 

Set in the Virgin Islands of the Caribbean, Adrift on St. John doesn't take place in small town, America. It has a definite local flavor to it, from the historical details following a 1733 slave revolt to local dialects in the dialogue. I thought Hale did a great job of selling the setting to the reader. Giving the reader just enough information to keep them guessing. Hale goes out of her way to make sure the reader understands the culture and the day to day activities of an exotic resort.

The main character Pen Hoffstra is a bit on the shady side. She is about to be disbarred for running a private attorney office that wasn't exactly on the up and up. When a man in the airport makes her an offer she can't refuse. She ends up as the manager of an exotic resort in the Caribbean. That's all well and good until a few years later someone shows up bearing her former name. When the new Hannah Sheridan ends up missing readers are treated to some amateur sleuthing. I'll admit it... I didn't know what to make of Pen. She struck me as shifty. She always had an angle, something up her sleeve, a way to get herself out of any jam. I could see the potential in her, but it seem to quite pan out.

As the first book in the series, I expect that Pen will do a lot of changing before it's all said and done and I can't wait to see how the author chooses to make her more likable. It's not often you see a book with a main character that's a bit abrasive, end well. I liked that she was resourceful and that she was a bit of a risk taker. She had her moments. But there were more bad ones than good ones in this book.

There was definitely a lot of potential with this one, I could kind of see where the author was going with it, but it did get a bit confusing at times with all the switches from past to present. I liked the historical details and all the interesting facts about the island, but it did get a bit hard to follow now and then. 

The author uses quite a bit of the "jive" slang in this book, that really added to the laid back island atmosphere. The dialog is snappy and full of surprises. I liked the people Pen had met and become friends with. They added a lot of comic relief to the book and kept it light and fun. There isn't a murder in this one, which also defies cozy rules, but I still think all the elements were there to consider this a cozy series. All and all quite a good start for a new series.

Adrift on St. John is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Rebecca M. Hale is the NY Times bestselling author of HOW TO WASH A CAT. The series, starring Rebecca's cats Rupert and Isabella, takes place at an antique shop in San Francisco's historic Jackson Square. While fictional, each book features a treasure hunt style mystery relating to a different aspect of California history - from the Gold Rush (HOW TO WASH A CAT), to the San Francisco exploits of Mark Twain (NINE LIVES LAST FOREVER), to the Bear Flag Revolt (HOW TO MOON A CAT). The fourth book in the series, HOW TO TAIL A CAT, is due out September, 2012.

In addition, the first book in Rebecca's new Mystery in the Islands series, ADRIFT ON ST JOHN, has just been released. When a water taxi sinks and one of the vessel's passengers disappears, the locals suspect the missing woman may have been done in by a ghost from the island's 1733 Slave Revolt. The second book in the series, AFOOT ON ST. CROIX, is scheduled for 2013 release.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Adrift on St. John by Rebecca M. Hale.

~ You must be a GFC follower or an E-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only!
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST April 6th.

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Beth said...

Love this author and I've been dying to try her new series!

holdenj said...

I always like finding a new series and am intrigued by the cozy with no murder!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

cyn209 said...

thank you for this giveaway!!!
already added on my WishList!!!!

Karen B said...

Sounds interesting! Great setting - and no murder.

Angela - Bookaunt said...

This sounds like a good book to relax with. Thank you for the chance to win

Sue Farrell said...

I like the idea of a cozy without a murder. Should be a fun read.

Carol M said...

I love stories that involve ghosts. This sounds good!

lag123 said...

This book has been on my wishlist!!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I would love to read this book.

catslady said...

Ghosts and mystery sounds good to me. I'm going to have to look up her cat mysteries :)


Theresa N. said...

Sounds like a good mystery and a mini vacation all in one.
Theresa N

bn100 said...

This sounds like a very interesting book in a nice setting.

Martha Lawson said...

Sounds great! Another new to me author - I love finding them..

In Julie's Opinion said...

Selling the setting is so important to me when reading a book, especially one with historical info included, so I'm doubly excited to read this book! Thanks for the great review and giveaway:)

mamabunny13 said...

I don't recall ever reading a cozy with no murder. Sounds interesting!
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com