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It's wedding season on Nantucket, and two unwelcome guests are crashing the party...
When people begin disappearing from the island, Nantucket Police Chief Henry Kennis is baffled. The victims are not random—they're all Nantucket High School alumni. And the only clues left behind are pennies dropped at the sites of the kidnappings. There's an old island tradition of tossing a penny from the ferry as you depart to ensure your eventual return... Has someone come back to the island with a sinister grudge to settle?
Sippy Bascomb and Doug Fraker were childhood best friends—bonded as fellow victims of bullying at the hands of their classmates. The two men hadn't seen each other in years, but when Sippy comes across Doug's blog airing grievances from the past, the two reconnect and hatch a plan to return to the island. Both seek revenge, but Doug wants their tormentors to face a tribunal and appoints himself judge, jury, and executioner...
When Henry's fiancée joins the missing, he enlists the aid of former intelligence agent Mitch Stone, a native who has returned to the island hoping for a peaceful retirement. The two men know they must find where their friends are being put on trial for their childhood crimes—before their deadly sentences can be carried out.
"Fans of traditional mysteries will welcome Axelrod's entertaining fifth outing for Nantucket police chief Henry Kennis...That Henry believes in an 'old school low-tech version of police work' allows the reader to readily follow the clues." —Publishers Weekly
The fifth Henry Kennis mystery takes us into the closed, gossip-riddled, back-stabbing world of Nantucket's community theater.
Horst Refn, the widely disliked and resented Artistic Director of the Nantucket Theater Lab, has been found stuffed into the meat freezer in his basement. Most of the actors, all the technical crew, and quite a few of the Theater Lab Board members, whom Refn was scamming and blackmailing, are suspects in his murder. The island's Police Chief Henry Kennis has to pick his way through a social minefield as he searches for the killer.
At the same time, daughter's new boyfriend, football star Hector Cruz, has been accused of sexting her. Carrie knows the offending pictures didn't come from him, and Henry has to prove it before the boy gets suspended, which means probing into the family secrets of Hector's father, a firebrand agitprop playwright, who happens to be a prime suspect in Refn's murder.
Every story is a fiction, every identity proves false, and every statement a lie. The counterfeit bills found at the scene of the crime are the most obvious symbol of the deceptions and distractions that obscure the investigation. The truth lies buried in the past, in Refn's earlier crimes and the victims who came to Nantucket seeking revenge.
When the culprit has been revealed, the last masks torn off, and final murder foiled—live, on stage, during the opening night of Who Dun It, the eerily prescient opening drama of the Theater Lab Season—Jane says to Henry, "Is everything counterfeit?" He smiles. "Almost."
"Axelrod and his protagonist bring an amused, judicious, and ultimately tolerant eye to the foibles large and small of a mixed Santa's bag of characters." —Kirkus Reviews
It's Christmas Eve on Nantucket and prominent businessman Jackson Blum is about to live out his own version of A Christmas Carol. No visions, no ghosts, just the past, represented by the exhumed skeleton of his old partner Ted Coddington with a bullet from Blum's Ruger pistol in its skull; the present, in the form of a horribly mistreated employee who reveals Blum as the Scrooge he is; and the future, invoked by a family crisis that threatens to ruin the rest of his life. Past, Present and Future, all colliding on the same dark night of the soul.
Nantucket Police Chief Henry Kennis is investigating the so-cold Coddington case with Blum as the main suspect while he roots out a plot to rig the traditional five-thousand-dollar Red Tickets raffle and struggles to close down a local opioid dealer who's selling to high school kids from a house on Tuckernuck Island—a bleak vista of wild moors, dirt roads, and unpainted homes a century old. "It's a time machine," says Kennis. With a whaling history.
Henry's own son has been accused of cheating, his daughter's been pushed out of the high school a capella singing group, and his girlfriend's Christmas play is careening toward disaster. It looks like a calamitous holiday for everyone.
All the scandals, tragedies, and intrigues of the season close in on Blum and Kennis as the two of them face off amid the carolers and colored lights. Finally, there's nothing to save the modern-day Scrooge from his terrifying future but a decades-old secret scribbled on a stolen slip of paper, and the uncertain mercy of the son he's lost. But it's Christmas, and as the snow finally starts to fall on the decorated trees that line Main Street, it's just possible that all sins will be forgiven and all sinners redeemed.
God Bless us, every one.
"Axelrod packs plenty of layers and surprises into this intelligent, twisty tale. Henry's wry humor as well as his affection for the residents he serves exude warmth and will appeal to fans of Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes." —Booklist
During a long winter and short, chilly spring, a series of disturbing incidents rock the small resort island of Nantucket. A Land Bank executive dies in a suspicious hunting accident, a prominent local family's historic summer cottage burns down in an arson fire, and a teenage girl lies comatose in the hospital from a drug overdose.
When spring turns to summer and the tourists flood the island, the mysterious cycle of violence spins faster. A young Jamaican boy is found dead in the harbor, a sex-for-drugs pornography ring is exposed, and a beloved local hero is murdered in cold blood. Could all of these events be part of the same sinister conspiracy?
Poetry-writing Police Chief Henry Kennis, back for his third case in Nantucket Grand by Steven Axelrod, doubts it. But his new girlfriend, Jane Stiles, an author of cozy mysteries, is certain that all these terrible events are connected. In one of her books, they would all be related. Henry scoffs, but as the cords pull tighter, drawing him into a scandal that would change Nantucket forever, he begins to realize that Jane might be right, after all. But is it already too late?
"Axelrod crafts an enjoyable, fast-paced read." —Publishers Weekly
Henry Kennis, Nantucket island's poetry-writing police chief who will remind readers of Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone and Spenser, works a second challenging case in Nantucket Five-spot.
At the height of the summer tourist season, a threat to bomb the annual Boston Pops Concert could destroy the island's economy, along with its cachet as a safe, if mostly summertime, haven for America's ruling class. The threat of terrorism brings The Department of Homeland Security to the island, along with prospects for a rekindled love affair—Henry's lost love works for the DHS now.
The "terrorism" aspects of the attack prove to be a red herring. The truth lies much closer to home. At first suspicion falls on local carpenter Billy Delavane, but Henry investigates the case and proves that Billy is being framed. Then it turns out that Henry's new suspect is also being framed—for the bizarre and almost undetectable crime of framing someone else. Every piece of evidence works three ways in the investigation of a crime rooted in betrayed friendship, infidelity, and the quiet poisonous feuds of small town life. Henry traces the origin of the attacks back almost twenty years and uncovers an obsessive revenge conspiracy that he must unravel—now alone, discredited and on the run—before further disaster strikes.
"Axelrod's promising debut introduces a protagonist who will remind readers of Robert Parker's sleuths. The two-part story structure ("Premeditation"and "Post Mortem") also gives readers an Ellery Queen type of opportunity to "help solve" the crime." —Library Journal
When Nantucket homeowner Preston Lomax is killed, everyone on the island could be a suspect. Lomax lived large, owed money, and the word was spreading he was planning to stiff them all and disappear. Chief of Police Henry Kennis, a newcomer from California, investigates with help from the State Police. Together they solve the case—or so it appears. But Kennis can't shake the feeling that they've missed something.
Kennis soon discovers scandals, intrigues and an eclectic cast of local characters—oddball journalists, surfing carpenters, drug dealers, wealthy homeowners and their slacker children. Kennis uncovers a truth that lies somewhere between the bad blood and the good neighbors.