I enjoyed this one, but for some reason it took me a little bit to get back into the story than the first one ("A Death at Seascape House"). The mystery part actually surprised me though I would have liked Emma to somehow expand a little bit more about the killer's character and motives. We got them but somehow it wasn't enough for me. I liked the progression of relationship between Jem and both her potential love interests - Hank and Rhys. There's definitely more to explore there in the next installment (to be out early 2022). Jem felt a lot more integrated into the community and living on the islands and we do get maybe how she could manage it, as well as progression of Pauley and Micki's characters and their development which was also great (will each also find a HEA? I hope so!). Though Jem is our sole POV, there are a lot of characters to be invested in.
Going to a party with her two best friends Jem takes her new boat Bellatrix to one of the islands only to discover upon anchoring (another) dead body. She does a little bit of sleuthing (naturally) before she contacts Hack and even if she thought to leave it (as she doesn't know the victim) when someone she cares about gets arrested she cannot sit by and let that happen, though there is motive and maybe even enough evidence she simply doesn't believe it. There is a lot to uncover, new characters to be introduced (as probable suspects - naturally) and old ones to be revisited. As well as friendships to establish and develop.
Hack felt as sure as always about what he wants from Jem and though she wants him, the current situation makes her a bit weary to do anything NOT investigation related. With Rhys it's always complicated. Her feelings for him were always there but the bad memories are there as well. Also it seems that while he is working hard to build a proper life for himself he is still struggling to find himself and deal with everything life has dealt him. So you'd think Hack would be the "intelligent" option, but he has his own secrets (including his first name). Although we see more softening from his side towards her even when it's obvious she infuriates or at least frustrates him quite a bit. I'm not sure with who I'd like to see her actually. With Rhys it would be closing a circle, but maybe they already shared enough and they both need to move on. With Hack I'm not sure what he is hiding but it would be rather cool to see them together solving mysteries while drinking their morning coffee you know?
I'll stop here not to spoiler anything. I enjoyed the side characters. They were all colorful and interesting and left me with a lot of thoughts to motives and reasonings. The killer wasn't who I was expecting and I'm still a bit surprised with how Emma sow it all together. The ending was a little bit abrupt for me but I guess we got enough for everything to make sense.
Glad Emma will be continuing on with the series.
10-15 September 2021