Night Watch: An Em Ridge Mystery Book One by Linda Hall

NIGHT
Night Watch: An Em Ridge Mystery Book One by Linda Hall
Publisher: Alexandria Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (273 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Desolate Maine shores… Murder… And peace slipping away on the outgoing tide…

For yacht delivery captain, Em Ridge, having a billionaire’s daughter go overboard on her first captaining job is not a good beginning. The sailboat is new, state of the art, her crew on this trip include two close sailing friends. But an unknown fourth, who can’t even tie a bowline, and the unruly owner’s daughter turn the idyllic trip into an adventure not wanted.

Two years ago Em buried her husband, her soulmate, her sailing buddy, and with him buried a secret. As hours on the open seas slide by, secrets are resurrected that tie Em’s past to a present, awash with murder and deception.

Will Em’s career go overboard? Will the investigating detective help her or hurt her? Any why does the best boat delivery captain on the east coast pull at her heart strings?

The oft foggy coast of Maine holds secrets it does not want to give up, and a lot of bodies can be hidden in The Pine Tree State’s largest city.

Captain Em Ridge is thrilled to have her first job since she got her Coast Guard captain’s license, but after a week underway, it looks as if it might be her last. A billionaire’s daughter, Kricket, goes overboard and if that weren’t bad enough, she was dead before she hit the water, killed by mushroom poisoning.

The plot takes a number of unexpected turns, which include Em’s discovering that her husband’s death two years earlier, supposedly from a kayaking accident was no accident. Was her husband having an affair? Was everything she thought she knew about him a lie?

Em is a very strong character, well-defined, with strengths as well as weaknesses. She really resonated with me and I was hooked from the opening of the novel when Em is wakened from a dream about her dead husband to discover that Kricket is missing.

I learned a lot about boats, small and large, power and sail, and all the details added to the authenticity of the tale. The mystery is very well crafted, with plenty of suspects, so that Em is caught wondering just whom to trust. She takes on more of the investigation than is safe, but she is so worried about her husband’s death that she keeps searching, keeps asking questions, keeps getting in deeper and deeper.

The pacing is excellent, as the tension builds bit by bit. We see Em as she interacts with a number of people, so I felt as if I really got to know her. And I liked her neighbors, the sisters who argue, the aged widower, and others. They lent an authenticity and believability to the entire story.

The setting is very well-drawn and the fact that Em lives on a remote piece of land which requires a ferry at high tide adds not only realism but suspense. She doesn’t live far from Portland, Maine, but the geography becomes an added character in the story as Em has to navigate the terrain.

Mystery lovers are in for a real treat with Night Watch, which is promised to be the first in a series. I sure hope more books follow quickly as I really want to travel the seas with Em again soon.

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