Shiver Hitch by Linda Greenlaw is the third book in the Jane Bunker Mystery series.
Author Linda Greenlaw spins quite a yarn with this Jane Bunker series installment. There’s murder, snow, boats, and chowder. What more could you ask for?
Set in the cold, small community of Green Haven, Maine, series protagonist Jane Bunker has relocated from Miami—where she was a homicide detective—to the polar opposite environment and career. Here in Green Haven, she kind of does it all as she works for the sheriff and with the local insurance agency.
I laughed to myself. My present situation was a far cry from chief detective of Miami-Dade County. If anyone from my past could see me now—Jane Bunker, bundled up like a goddamned Eskimo—living in an apartment over a trinket-selling tourist trap in this remote outpost—making ends meet financially (just barely) with a combination of insurance consulting/investigation and a job as the assistant deputy sheriff of Knox County—shoveling snow!
But there are ties that bind for Bunker in Green Haven. She is from the area but left as a child, fleeing with her mother and brother to Florida. Now, it’s only her and her brother left, and Bunker isn’t sure about digging up the old bones of her past.
Bunker is an interesting and very real character. She’s not a girly-girl, and she gets things done. She’s had a hard life, and it’s served to give her strong street smarts and powerful instincts. Her brother, Wally, has Downs Syndrome, and he is her world. Her bond with him is unbreakable. She doesn’t like that she had to leave him in assisted living in Florida, but she feels it’s harder to uproot him.
Later in the story, we find out that Wally’s lost his funding to live in Florida and will be joining Jane in Maine. Her living situation in Green Haven is already unique. She lives with her landlords, who are an eccentric elderly couple that own a lobster-themed gift shop. They have basically adopted her as one of their own, and with Jane lacking the traditional upbringing, she welcomes them. Some of the best exchanges are when the landlords, Alice and Henry Vickerson, are bickering among themselves:
“Better get a wiggle on,” advised Mrs. V. “Time is of the essence.”
“What’s the rush? Remember, haste makes waste,” instructed Mr. V.
“He who hesitates is lost,” admonished Mrs. V.
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!”
“The early bird gets the worm!”
“Good things come to those who wait.”
“Tide and time wait for no man. And damn few women! There, top that, Henry,” Alice challenged.
Jane was used to the high crime rates in Miami, and coming to Green Haven has been a change. There are a lot of drugs, but it’s still small-town dealings and addicts compared to the volume down south. And even though her roots were in the area, Bunker didn’t want to rock that boat just yet.
Now, I faced the probability of actually meeting what remains of the Bunkers, and hoped some of the hatefulness my mother spoke of had withered in the past thirty-eight years. I reminded myself that this trip to Acadia was not a quest for the truth or an opportunity for a family reunion. It was work, period!
This is a satisfying whodunit that left me working to try and figure it out, which I always enjoy more than stories that are easy to guess at. Bunker is such an organic character and one I would like to read more of. Those who enjoy stories set in Maine will want to check this one out.
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Amber Keller is a writer who delves into dark, speculative fiction, particularly horror and suspense/thrillers. You can find her work on her Amazon Author Page and she also features many short stories on Diary of a Writer. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she contributes to many websites and eMagazines and you can follow her on Twitter @akeller9.