Found, by H. Terrell Griffin. Oceanview Publishing. 357 pages. Hardcover $26.95.
Mr. Griffin’s eighth Matt Royal Mystery refines all of the pleasures his fans have come to expect. These include carefully shaded tough-guy investigators, brutal villains, witty banter among friends, robust romance, nonstop (it seems) eating and drinking in Sarasota area establishments, dogged investigation, constant threat, and the enchantments of the SW Florida coastal setting.
Throw in some World War II history (shaped to the ends of the present day plot) and you’ve got a complex web of questions that won’t give up their answers without a fight.
Mystery number one: Matt’s girlfriend J. D. Duncan, detective in the Longboat Key Police Department, receives a text message from a friend who had supposedly died over a year ago. It contains the woman’s photo and the name Jed, Katie Fredrickson’s private nickname for J. D. Is this a prank, or a call for help? Katie had disappeared when her husband was killed.
Mystery number two: a man in a stolen Jaguar pulls up to a condo complex, shoots an elderly man named Ken Goodlow point blank, then drives onto a bridge that is opening and plunges with the Jaguar to his death. Witnesses reveal that Goodlow had served in WWII, moved to the nearby fishing community of Cortez soon after, and had been president of the Cortez Historical Society.
He had come to the condo building to show a friend of his some old photographs taken shortly after the war. Matt and J. D. soon interview Bud Jamison, another friend of Goodlow, who identifies the two of them as “the last of the young men who came back from the war and went to work on the boats,” fishing for a living. It soon becomes clear that whatever led to Goodlow’s murder has Jamison spooked. For he feels he might be next. But why?
Matt and J. D. along with the assistance of Jock, Matt’s deep cover government operative, pursue the two mysteries through the tried and true drudgery of questioning witness, relatives of victims, and people with any connection to the deceased Jaguar driver.
About a third of the way into the novel, Mr. Griffin introduces another time line that he elaborates over several chapters interspersed among those developing the present day timeline. This thread gives us a sense of the Sarasota area (Cortez in particular) in 1942 and details the happenings on a German U-boat patrolling the Gulf of Mexico with a clearly defined mission. . . .
To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the January 15, 2014 Fort Myers Florida Weeky and the January 16 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Charlotte County editions, click here Florida Weekly – Found 1 and here Florida Weekly – Found 2.