The Off–Islander – Peter Colt

Private Investigator Andy Roark is a bit of a loner, grabbing divorce and cheating spouse cases to make a living. He’s Boston raised, and Vietnam bred and just doesn’t quite fit in with society any longer. Used to a purpose for everything, he struggles with PTSD in a world he sees with no order. Andy’s closest friend is Danny Sullivan, his childhood buddy and now successful attorney, who calls Andy with a missing person’s case. A wealthy client in San Francisco is looking for the father who disappeared many years ago. With her husband making a Senate run, she wants to ensure there will be no surprises forthcoming from the past.  

Andy flies to the west coast and meets with Deborah Swift. There he learns of her father, Charlie Hammond, also a war vet, who headed out for a pack of cigarettes one evening, never to return to his family. Despite her hiring Pinkerton detectives, his trail ran cold, and Andy may her last hope. Pinkerton was able to learn that several checks from the VA were sent to Hyannis MA before they stopped altogether. She and Danny are hopeful that as a Boston ‘insider’ he’ll discover things that others cannot. 

Intrigued, Andy takes the case. Upon visiting the address where the checks were delivered, he discovers an old woman who used to run a commune of sorts on her property. After speaking with her and learning of her youthful exploits and the many vagrant visitors she had back in the day, he’s intrigued by her explanations and her inability to remember if Charlie Hammond had ever been one of them. When he takes his leave, he does a bit of snooping and finds a pretty sophisticated camera system, and evidence of drug dealing.  What seemed like a dead end is suddenly much more interesting.

As Andy keeps digging and gets ever closer to his prey, he inadvertently raises the ire of others, and strange things start happening. A shove out of nowhere that launches him off of a hillside, a very close call or two in the woods, and an unexpected  (well, perhaps in retrospect it was to be expected) ending, will keep the pages turning deep into the night,  and the mystery lover satisfied! 

The book started off a bit slow for me, but then took off like a rocket. The characters are engaging – though at times difficult to like – and the backstories into their lives serve to help us understand why they are who they are for this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Andy’s character and really hope to see him continue to develop and grow in future novels! Here’s hoping!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective (if not very, very overdue) review.