I’ve made it to Book Number 5 in H. Terrell Griffin’s Matt Royal mystery series, set in Longboat Key, Florida. Matt is a retired lawyer with all kinds of fighting skills left over from his days as a Green Beret.
The plot of Bitter Legacy – which is fairly complicated – centers around an acquaintance of Matt’s, Abraham Osceola, an elderly member of a small Caribbean tribe known as the Bahamian Seminoles. Abraham travels to see Matt, wanting his advice on a document he’s discovered, which could mean a lot of money to his tribe. But Matt is out of town, and Abraham is attacked and hospitalized.
When Matt comes home from his vacation, he finds that somebody has been shooting at his friend Logan (which shouldn’t really surprise him; it seems no friend of Matt’s can turn around without getting shot at). Trying to discover the source of the threat, Matt meets J. D. Duncan, a new female cop in town who’s smart and sexy (surprise!) and sparks fly. Before long his friend Jock, the mysterious secret agent, shows up too and they follow clues that seem to lead to one of the richest men in Florida.
I think I’ve had enough of Matt Royal for a while. The books are fast and fun, but if you’ve read one, you’ve kind of read them all. The author employs the same tricks and tactics again and again, relying just a little too much on lucky breaks to keep his heroes alive.
There’s another issue too, which may just be nitpicking on my part. Our hero Matt talks a lot about his war experiences in Vietnam, and the PTSD symptoms he and his friends suffer after killing anyone. I don’t dispute that this is realistic – I hate to think how I’d respond if I ever killed anyone, Heaven forbid. But this psychological agonizing doesn’t (for me) fit in well with the rather cinematic improbability of the violence portrayed in the stories.
Your mileage may vary. I recommend reading the Matt Royal books one at a time, with other reading in between.