Review: Retired attorney Matt Royal spends a glorious week with his lady friend on his boat sailing down and up the west coast of Florida, only to return to find that someone has attempted to murder a close friend — and that someone may be after him as well — in Bitter Legacy, the fifth mystery in this series by H. Terrell Griffin.
Logan Hamilton is walking across the street to meet with the chief of police of Longboat Key, Bill Lester, when a sniper puts a bullet into his chest. He's saved by two facts: the sniper was too far away for the bullet to do any serious damage, and Logan was carrying a paperback book in his breast pocket, into which the bullet lodged. Regardless, being shot at is serious business and Lester asks Matt to help him look into the matter. But Matt has problems of his own: while visiting Logan at a safe house, someone attempts to kidnap him at gunpoint — the safety still on, though — and later he finds his house trashed. Clearly the work of non-professionals, Matt nonetheless knows that even amateurs can get lucky and kill someone, and sets out to find who's after him and his friends … and why.
Bitter Legacy opens with two alternating storylines, one with Matt on Longboat Key trying to figure out why someone wants him dead, and the other with the murder of another attorney in south Florida. The two storylines are, of course, linked but it takes quite some time before that happens (requiring yet another storyline to be introduced) … and even then, it's not altogether clear what are the ulterior motives behind the actions against Matt. In a novel of suspense, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the lack of clarity here is disconcerting. (An afterward helps significantly in this regard; since it really doesn't spoil the plot in any meaningful way, reading it first may help to better understand the overall story arc.)
It's hard not to get caught up in the excitement as Matt and his friends employ a "take no prisoners" approach to dealing with the bad guys, and the historical element to the story is quite interesting. But the link between these two strong points seems tentative, the resulting mystery plot being somewhat disjointed, not flowing as smoothly as it should.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided a copy of Bitter Legacy for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover), November 2009
ISBN-13: 9781933515533; ISBN-10: 1933515538
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover), January 2013
ISBN-13: 9781608090709; ISBN-10: 1608090701
Location(s) referenced in Bitter Legacy: Sarasota, Florida
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Bitter Legacy by H. Terrell Griffin — A Matt Royal Mystery
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: December 2010
List Price: $25.95