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Aground on St. Thomas: 12/23/15

Aground on St. Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale

Aground on St. Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale is the third of the Mystery on the Islands series. Chronologically I think it's actually the first as the author describes herself being stuck en route to St. John due to the U.S. federal government shutting down the island as they try to round up the local government on bribery charges.

Typically Hale's books skirt closer to actual events so that caricatures of local people in power are recognizable. Here, though, the story of the FBI take over seems spun out of whole cloth. More precisely, the mystery is completely fictional but it's set during a recognizable time with recognizable supporting characters.

Here though with an ensemble cast made up of leaders of the U.S. Virgin Islands, there's a greater need or temptation to make stuff up. This isn't a complaint on my part, just an observation of a change in writing style.

Among the cast there are two stand outs, the Mojito Man, who was inspired by an actual person the author met on one of her flights, and the Bishop of St Thomas who is obviously not a bishop but still recognizable to those in the know.

What this book reminds me of most is a gigantic shell game. There are so many characters in play and most of them are disguised as others or changing disguises as the need suits them. Keeping track of who's who is a big part of reading this book.

Four stars

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