Avid Series Reader's Reviews > First Light

First Light by Philip R. Craig
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First Light by Philip R. Craig and William G. Tapply is the first book of the Brady Coyne & J.W. Jackson mystery series. Brady Coyne is a lawyer in Boston, a good fishing buddy of Jeff's. Brady comes to Martha's Vineyard to finalize a will for an elderly client. Sarah Fairchild, close to death, needs to decide between two prospective buyers for her extensive property: one candidate is a non-profit organization that will create a wildlife preserve, the other candidate is a golf resort developer. Brady must meet both and evaluate which buyer best serves Sarah's wishes.

J.W. "Jeff" lives year-round on the island with his wife Zee and children. He's in the process of building a treehouse with their "help", a task they all enjoy. He's an ex-cop from Boston, wounded in the line of duty, now working at odd jobs around the island. He loves his simpler lifestyle with his family. He's been asked to investigate a "cold" case of a woman who went missing from the island.

Brady, Jeff and Zee are passionate about fishing, and it's the week of the annual fishing derby. Jeff knows the many places fish come and go with the tides around the island. His favorite time to fish is "First Light", just before full dawn. Jeff and Zee take turns going fishing with Brady; chapters alternate from Brady's and Jeff's point of view.

When Sarah's nurse goes missing, clues point to the same circumstances as for previous cases of missing women. Brady's and Jeff's investigations converge; danger threatens Jeff's family.

As in all mysteries of the Martha's Vineyard series (featuring Jeff as sole protagonist), reading the story feels like taking a mini-vacation. Craig's love for Martha's Vineyard is evident in his descriptions of island landmarks, and his characters' great joy when fishing on its many beaches. A recurring theme is the dramatic difference between tourist-packed summers vs. the quieter, calmer off-season.

Jeff's laid-back humor is a treat: "Like a lot of people who were raised with not much money, I keep a supply of stuff that I don't really need right now but might need some day." He makes good use of odds and ends building the treehouse.

Recipes: Seafood St. Jacques, Nana's Steamed Pudding, Brady's Thanksgiving Sea Duck. Plus a tip from Jeff: "Fresh bluefish is best for cooking, but, for reasons that elude me, frozen bluefish smokes better than fresh bluefish. It is another unsolved mystery of the sea."

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 6, 2019 – Finished Reading
May 24, 2019 – Shelved

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