Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands #1)” as Want to Read:
Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands #1)

3.01  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
No one knows better than resort manager Pen Hoffstra that the idea of a tropical paradise is an illusion. So when a young woman named Hannah Sheridan disappears off the island of St. John, she is not surprised that all is not what it seems to be.

Pointing out Hannah's resemblance to the Amina Slave Princess from the 1733 slave revolt on St. John--whose ghost is rumored to
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Berkley Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Adrift on St. John, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Adrift on St. John

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
First of all just to get it out ...I loved this book. If you read this book expecting a series like Ms. Hale's other popular is Not! This book, in my opinion, is as fine a piece of literature of the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller genres that I've read in quite a while.

I never put together the orchestrator of the mysteries until the very ending when the Author revealed it to me. This was a mystery novel. Not a cozy murder, or a murder mystery at all, this book was far more complex and layered
Mar 06, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four years ago Penelope Hoffstra got an offer she couldn’t refuse, a struggling borderline unethical lawyer she finds herself in the Miami airport when a strange man approaches her and offers her a new life. She never looked back. She found herself the manager of a prime resort on the Virgin Island of St. John, her ineptness however has followed her to her new career as well as she skims life on her island. But there’s change coming and it isn’t good as the natives get restless nearing the anniv ...more
Darlene Ferland
Apr 22, 2012 Darlene Ferland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Congratulations Ms. Hale! This book is filled with the idiosyncracies of the people living in St. John/St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands as well as living on these islands. Life can be hard living there but the perks are well worth it. This book was centered on the smallest and most expensive of the three islands. Rebecca Hale's misterious story allows the reader to be able to use all five senses while becoming an intricate part of the story. Her words become alive and feeds the sen ...more
Mar 13, 2012 Vicky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well this just shut the door on another author: Rebecca Hale. I read her first "Cat" novel and liked it but couldn't get through the next installment. I had hoped this new series would be different. I managed to get to the halfway point before I stopped putting the book down and strived to finish it. That was difficult as the writing was so jumbled that it drew me out of whatever the story was supposed to be. This book is awful and I won't recommend it to anyone, nor will I buy another by this a ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deep in the waters of the Caribbean on the tiny island of St. John, Hannah Sheridan runs to get on the water taxi because she's running late. The taxi springs a leak while crossing the channel to St. Thomas, the island where Hannah works. About halfway through the journey, Hannah, a recent employee at the resort, vanishes without a trace at sea, which fuels a local legend.

Penelope Hoffstra, or Pen as the islanders called her, is Hannah’s employer. Now, she's caught up in the intrigue about how H
Aug 07, 2012 Jack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually give a bad review to a book I've read. I usually have good thigs to say, otherwise, I can't read enough of the book to review it.

I decided to plunder through this one, though. I am a fan of Rebecca Hale's "Cats and Curios" mysteries...well, the first two, at least. I had noticed that the most recent "Cats and Curios" mystery, "How to Tail a Cat," was not up to par...hard-to-follow plot, confusing characters, chaotic plot structure, etc. I thought I would give this new series of h
Jul 20, 2012 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won-gr
This was my first experience with the author, Rebecca Hale. As I began reading the book, I became confused as to whether I was reading a story or a history book. I was never able to connect with the main character- as the story bounced between the history of the island, the main character and the secondary characters. The main character is a lazy alcoholic who would rather turn to a bottle than anything else. I normally will finish a book in one sitting once it "grabs" me, however as I attempted ...more
Victoria Wright
Mar 19, 2012 Victoria Wright is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'm only a few chapters in and I'm enjoying it. I'm not sure what to make of the main character yet. Every time I want to like her, I'm presented with another character flaw that makes me hesitate to root for her.

I'm familiar with this author's writing, and I really like her series. More later . . .
Diana Bringardner
May 14, 2012 Diana Bringardner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Something different and incredibly well done. First in a series but I don't know if the continuation is about the Island or the main character and love that I don't know!
Cathy Cole
First Line: Deep within the murky, unlit darkness of the Caribbean waters skirting the northern tip of the Lesser Antilles, the stocky shadow of a catamaran powerboat rocked against a wooden pier off the tiny island of St. John.

For the past four years Penelope Hoffstra has been a resort manager on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Penelope knows firsthand that there's no such thing as a tropical paradise, so when one of the resort's employees is reported to be killed when a wate
Alexandra Daytona
I happened upon this book at the thrift store in work at... and it was perfect, I thought, because I was leaving for a vacation on St. John not a week later! So I saved the book with the intention of reading it while I was on the island. Authenticity!

That being said, had I picked up this novel at home and never visited the islands, I likely would have abandoned it. It's difficult for me to get into a novel if I don't like the characters as people. The main protagonist, Pen, made me very angry a
Nov 10, 2012 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hale manages to bring to life the complexity of the island's history, and what it is to live on the island, as opposed to being a guest at one of the resorts. The plot is made up of many strands, all woven together into a whole at the end. While this keeps the reader moving right along, it does add layers of complexity.This is not surprising given that the author was a patent attorney, and is thus attuned to skillfully handling complex and muti-layered situations.
It's an intriguing book, thoug
Jul 16, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see there is a wide response to this book. I received a copy from the author at a panel raffle during Left Coast Crime. I really wanted to like this book. I was not comfortable with the format of placing an ending scene in the beginning of the novel and flashing back to tell the tale. There was quite a bit of repetition about the historical aspects of St John, especially in the beginning. Most annoying for me was the bouncing back and forth between different points of view and different ce ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Kaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Penelope Hoffstra, the manager of an island resort, knows what the tropical paradise is not as much as what it is. Pen, as she is known by, has been there four years and lets her assistant Vivian do most of the "heavy lifting" in running the resort. Pen seems to have an abundance of secrets and rather questionable work habits. When Hannah Sheridan appears to work at the resort, Pen finds her a mystery. With Beulah, the maid, Conrad, the annual visitor, Roger, the rooster, and other colorful char ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could only get about 3/4th's of the way through this book. I felt like it had a lot of potential, however it just let me down. I'm not particularly crazy on books that I read the ending before the beginning either, so that's one of the other reasons this book and I got off on the wrong foot. I also wasn't too fond of the characters. I had a really hard time connecting with the main character , she seemed a bit lazy and too sardonic for my liking. I'd like to say that I will go back and reread ...more
Oct 25, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoy getting lost within the pages of a cozy mystery, with this book I was simply lost. I can deal with the ending being the beginning of the book. I can deal with bouncing back and forth between past and present. I can even deal with the many threads it takes to weave the tapestry of a story. However, with this book I kept wondering when it would get to point. For me this seemed less of a mystery and more a novel. It was a story about a number of different people and how their lives an ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Lindig rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, unfinished
It's too bad. This author has an interesting germ of a plot (as she did in her cat mysteries) but the main character is an idiot (as it was in her cat series), the complications piled on become hopelessly chaotic, the secondary characters are "quirky" to the extreme, and the prose style is rather pedestrian. This is the 4th book by this author that I've tried and the highest rating I've given is three stars, so I think she and I just don't mix.
I REALLY wanted to enjoy this book. I made it part of the US Challenge. I found 2 mysteries based in American Virgin Islands, this one and its sequel.
This book aptly fulfills the requirements of an excellent description of life, culture, landscape, people, and history. However, I was bored with the storyline and disliked the main character. The storyline also was a bit choppy and confusing. Furthermore, it really wasn't a positive perspective of the islanders.
Barb Keister
Dec 26, 2013 Barb Keister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, adult-picks
Happened upon this mystery series as I was browsing the shelves and since we're getting ready to go to St. John in a couple days, thought it would be a good read. Hope it doesn't disappoint!

So I read this one on the beaches of St. John and it was a fun read, especially all the specific references about spots around the island.
Not the type of mystery I was expecting, but an interesting read that will get you wanting to know more about USVI and its history.
Mar 15, 2012 Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzanne by: SYKM Newsletter
Shelves: mysteries
I think I got the mystery, but I'm still scratching my head a bit............. I did love all the history of the USVI, especially St. John. Some of the characters were quirky and fun. Some I didn't much care about. Excellent job of capturing the local flavor of the islands and the resident islanders.
Oct 10, 2012 B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-mystery
St. John! One of my favorite places and coincidently it dealt with the closing of Maho Bay Eco resort..the place we love to go to and that will be closing really in May because the land is being sold. The mystery was okay but I loved how well the author knew the island and all its idiosyncracies. And the picture on the cover? Yup, that's what it looks like.
May 13, 2012 Alyssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This cozy mystery was okay. The characters were interesting but there were some definitive plot holes and I don't think the whole thing wrapped up very well at the end. The actual mystery was overly complicated. Had it not been set on an island, it would have been far less interesting to me.
Nancy H
Oct 03, 2013 Nancy H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an intriguing mystery! It is set in an exotic locale with an interesting cast of characters. You will find yourself entranced and unable to stop turning the pages as you try to find out what happens in the end.
Jacqueline   Blatchford
Oct 02, 2014 Jacqueline Blatchford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Judging by the reviews, It looks like people loved it or hated it. I found it to be very enjoyable. In a way it reminded me of Holes, by Louis Sacchar. We had our honeymoon in St. John way back when and this brought back great memories.
Jan 15, 2015 Erin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was incredibly disappointed with this book. I love Rebecca Hale's writing, but this book was so incredibly slow moving and boring. Had the author simply concentrated on Penelope's story, it would have been a much better read.
Martie Nees Record
I am surprised that others have read this book. For me it was my vacation book at, where else but St. John. I thought the writing as well as the plot was mediocre at best. But, it was so much fun being on my dream vacation while reading about the very beaches I was sunbathing on.
Jul 07, 2013 Nora-adrienne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I am so sorry I left this book for so long unread. An amazing story and I look forward to the next in this series.
Jun 14, 2012 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would not consider this a modern day cozy. More like cozies from Yesteryear. Some very dark chapters. Very interesting of the of St John's. Mystery and characters were okay.

Mar 31, 2013 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
a bit too much history lessons, otherwise I liked it. If all her books are like this one I don't think I would keep reading them.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Beaglemania (Pet Rescue Mystery, #1)
  • How to Dine on Killer Wine (Party Planning, #5)
  • Beef Stolen-Off (A Clueless Cook Mystery, #2)
  • Town in a Wild Moose Chase (A Candy Holliday Mystery, #3)
  • Death in Four Courses (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #2)
  • Arsenic and Old Cake (A Piece of Cake Mystery, #3)
  • The Scarlet Pepper (A White House Gardener Mystery, #2)
  • Read and Buried (Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery #2)
  • The Heirloom Murders (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery #2)
  • Paws for Murder (Pet Boutique #1)
  • Final Sail (Dead-End Job Mystery, #11)
  • Copycat Killing (A Magical Cats Mystery, #3)
  • Behind the Seams (Crochet Mystery, #6)
  • A Novel Way to Die (Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, #2)
  • Mrs. Malory and Any Man's Death
  • Die Buying (A Mall Cop Mystery, #1)
  • Murder Buys a T-shirt (A Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery #1)
  • Sketch Me If You Can (A Portrait of Crime Mystery, #1)
NY Times bestselling author Rebecca M. Hale lives in Western Colorado with her feline writing associates - when she’s not off researching future books set in San Francisco, the Caribbean, or wherever else her wandering spirit takes her.
More about Rebecca M. Hale...

Other Books in the Series

Mystery in the Islands (3 books)
  • Afoot on St. Croix (Mystery in the Islands #2)
  • Aground on St. Thomas

Share This Book