Overall, however, I concluded that if she were Terrence Well’s trophy wife, he hadn’t won first prize.
I liked the writing and the characters in Rob Avery’s first Sim Greene novel, Close-Hauled, but I didn’t like how it ended. The promise, however, was enough to persuade me to try the second book, Broad Reach. This one was more to my liking, and the author even did a little retcon work to soften the hard landing in the last book.
Sim Greene, former Navy CPO, has left his career in California. He’s steering his sailboat, Figaro, to the British Virgin Islands by way of the Panama Canal. Doing it solo is a challenge, but not an overwhelming one. When he gets to BVI, he plans to use some cash he and his buddy Al acquired in their last adventure, and open a dive shop and salvage business.
But when he arrives, he finds a message from Al. He’s been arrested on suspicion of murder, and is being held without bail. Sim hastens to hire him a lawyer.
Al says he was approached by a beautiful woman, who gave him a plastic bag containing someone’s pocket contents, including a passport, which she found. She asked him to turn it in to the police for her. When he did so, he was arrested for the murder of the passport’s owner. The police seem satisfied they have their man, and are not investigating further. Al has an alibi, but it’s in the form of a woman whom he doesn’t wish to name.
Sim starts asking questions around the islands, discovering that the dead man was involved with drug smugglers, and that the police have been compromised. He also meets a beautiful woman who might just be able to lure him away from life on a boat.
Rob Avery is a good writer, and has done a fine job with characters and plotting here. This is a series I could get to like. I’m waiting for the next book, not yet published.