The Harbor (Carriage House Series #4)

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Overview

In a small coastal Maine town, a killer strikes--then disappears without a trace.

Shattered by her father's murder, Zoe West abandoned her plans to become an FBI agent and left her hometown of Goose Harbor, Maine. But a new home and job did nothing to get her life back on track, and now Zoe knows only one thing will--returning to Goose Harbor and confronting the past.

FBI Special Agent J. B. McGrath is "on vacation"--the Bureau's version of ...

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Overview

In a small coastal Maine town, a killer strikes--then disappears without a trace.

Shattered by her father's murder, Zoe West abandoned her plans to become an FBI agent and left her hometown of Goose Harbor, Maine. But a new home and job did nothing to get her life back on track, and now Zoe knows only one thing will--returning to Goose Harbor and confronting the past.

FBI Special Agent J. B. McGrath is "on vacation"--the Bureau's version of "Get your act together, or else..." Burned-out after working undercover for a year, J.B. agrees he needs a break, and chooses Goose Harbor as a retreat. But he isn't lying low. He believes a killer is still loose in the town--a killer who isn't happy to see Zoe West return.

Zoe isn't sure she can trust the unpredictable FBI agent--or their growing attraction to each other. But as the danger mounts, one wrong move could destroy everything she and J.B. care about. Because someone got away with murder and is determined to keep it that way.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Small New England towns full of romance and intrigue are Neggers's specialty, and here she revisits characters first introduced in her previous book, Stonebrook Cottage. Patrick West, chief of police in Goose Harbor, Maine, is murdered following a visit to his 101-year-old aunt, Olivia. Olivia passes away after hearing of her nephew's death but not before trying to say she knows who murdered him. The murder remains unsolved, and in the year following Patrick's death, his daughter Zoe virtually self-destructs, abandoning her police career and secluding herself in Connecticut. Zoe returns to Goose Harbor after her sister Chistina calls to say that someone has broken into Olivia's house. Around the same time, burnt-out FBI agent J.B. McGrath rolls into town claiming to be on vacation. Inevitably, Zoe and J.B. team up to solve a string of inexplicable crimes that are somehow related to her father's murder. The relationship between Zoe and J.B. is well paced and believable, and a secondary thread concerning J.B.'s connection to Olivia is a nice twist. However, Neggers's supporting characters are less convincing, and her "bad guys" are little more than cardboard cutouts. Still, readers looking for a light escape will find this mildly diverting. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786254613
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 6/11/2003
  • Series: Carriage House Series , #4
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 8.72 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Carla Neggers

Carla Neggers has been writing fiction since she first climbed a tree with pad and pen at age eleven. Now her books, with their powerful blend of chilling suspense and daring romance, regularly appear on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. An avid hiker and kayaker, Carla lives with her family in Vermont, not far from Quechee Gorge. For more information on her latest books and to contact Carla, please visit: www.carlaneggers.com.

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Read an Excerpt

The Harbor


By Carla Neggers

Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1551666510


Chapter One

The long days of summer had come to an end, and as Olivia West sat at her kitchen table on the dark, cold October morning, she knew she wouldn't live to see another Maine s ummer. Tomorrow she would turn one hundred and one. But it wasn't just the odds catching up with her that led to her quiet certainty that she'd reached her sunset - she just knew. She had months, perhaps only days. Hours.

Her nephew, Patrick, wasn't deterred by autumn's shorter days. He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat across from her. He always stopped by before his walk in the nature preserve, which was just northeast of the brown-shingled 1890s house at the mouth of Goose Harbor where Olivia had lived her entire hundred years. She and Patrick both liked to be up to see the sunrise. It was one thing they had in common. Perhaps the only thing.

He was in uniform. That was unusual. Olivia licked her lips. "Patrick -"

"I can't talk about it, Olivia."

She understood. He had a job to do, but this time it hit close to home. He'd been preoccupied for some time but hadn't told her everything, not that he needed to. She knew him, and she knew Goose Harbor.

She wondered what her brother would think if he could see his only child now. Patrick West, chief of police. He'd neverknown his father, also a Patrick. Olivia remembered seeing her baby brother off to war, knowing he wouldn't come back, just as she knew, now, she wouldn't see another summer.

Patrick nodded at her typewriter, an IBM Selectric II. She'd given up her Olivetti manual years ago, under protest, and had no intention of switching to a computer. "What're you doing?" he asked.

"I'm revising my obituary."

"Aunt Olivia, for God's sake -"

"It's not morbid, Patrick. Not at my age. I intend to have my affairs in order. I don't want to leave that burden to you and the girls."

Patrick had two daughters, Zoe, a law enforcement officer like him but with her grandfather's zest for adventure, and Christina, who was just as rooted on Maine's southern coast as her father and great-aunt. Their mother had died when they were little girls. Patrick had done a good job raising them. Olivia hadn't bothered trying to replace their mother - she'd never married and didn't really trust her maternal instincts. She thought she was a fairly good great-aunt, though.

"You've had your affairs in order for thirty years," Patrick grumbled.

She glanced at the paper in her typewriter. Olivia West, 101, the author of seventy-two Jennifer Periwinkle novels, died today at her home in Goose Harbor, Maine. It was a sensible first sentence. People tended to think she was already dead. The University of Maine and Bates, Bowdoin and Colby Colleges all offered classes on her work. Her house was on the Goose Harbor walking tour. The town library had an Olivia West Room. In her mind, those were honors more suited to dead people. She knew the local paper kept an obituary of her on file. She'd asked Patrick to get her a copy of it, but he'd refused.

He got up and looked over her shoulder. She was shrunken and white-haired, her fingers gnarled, her veins prominent, her skin brown with age spots - yet she could sit here at her table, where she'd written all her books, and wonder that any time had passed at all. She glanced out at the harbor, the first of the lobster boats chugging across the quiet water in the murky predawn light. Patrick kissed the top of her head. He was paunchy and gray-haired himself, and as good a man as Olivia had ever known. "You're morbid, Aunt Olivia. I'm talking to your doctor about antidepressants to smooth out your moods."

"There's nothing wrong with my moods."

He laughed and winked at her on his way out, as if he didn't have a care in the world. Olivia knew better.

She abandoned her obituary and rolled a fresh sheet of paper into her IBM. Even slowed by arthritis and age, she managed to type quickly. Chapter One. She scrolled down a few lines.

And stopped.

She knew she'd go no further.

She couldn't kill off Jen Periwinkle.

Olivia had watched herself wither and wrinkle, but Jen remained forever sixteen, always ready to solve her next mystery. She was timeless. She used her wits - never violence - to solve crimes. That was Olivia's pact with her readers - Jen Periwinkle wouldn't have to resort to violence to achieve her results. She occasionally brandished a gun and once a sword, but she never drew blood.

To kill her off, Olivia meant to have her die saving someone, probably a child. Mr. Lester McGrath, Jen's evil nemesis through all seventy-two books, would have to die, too, but as a result of her intelligence and bravery, not at her hands.

"Aunt Olivia ... Aunt Olivia!"

Zoe rushed into the kitchen from the side entrance. Olivia hadn't noticed the sun had come up, and she didn't have a good sense of how much time had passed since Patrick was here. An hour? The sun sparkled on the harbor waters and reflected the stunning fall foliage. Boats were out. Olivia tried to focus on Zoe, but realized something was terribly wrong and wanted to dive back into Jen Periwinkle's fictional world.

"Oh, Aunt Olivia." Zoe seemed to be trying to pull herself together. She was clearly shaken, her face pale, her running clothes matted with sweat and - and something else. Dark stains. Her running shoes were soaked. "I didn't want you to hear the news from someone else - I ... God ..." Her eyes, blue with gray flecks like Olivia's baby brother's, filled with tears. "Dad's dead."

Olivia saw now that the dark stains were blood. It had spattered on Zoe's gray shirt and shorts. She tried to speak, but nothing came out.

"He was shot. I found him on my run."

"But he was just here! He stopped in to see me, like he always does. Where? Where did you find him?"

"In the nature preserve. Stewart's Cove." Zoe raked a shaking hand through her short blond curls, her experience as a Maine State Police detective, accustomed to dealing with crime scenes, facts and evidence, not helping her now. But this was different. This was her father. "The marine patrol, state police and local police are there now. I - I have to go back."

"Of course. Christina -"

"She's meeting me there." The tears spilled down her pale cheeks, and when she wiped them with her fingertips, they mixed with her father's blood. "Is Betsy here? I don't want to leave you alone."

Olivia nodded. Betsy O'Keefe was her live-in caregiver, a concession Olivia had made two years ago in order to be able to continue living in her house. Betsy had learned to leave Olivia alone as much as possible in the morning.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Harbor by Carla Neggers Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    Not one of her best

    This book just doesn't get the characters quite right. The author tells you a lot about their circumstances but she just doesn't get you to feel what she's telling you. The main characters are both carrying significant baggage from their recent careers but somehow they don't seem too affected by it. The plot is muddled and the ending just a bit too neat. It's never really clear what turned the good guy bad and why so many people were unable to resolve the little town's horrible secret. Her other books are better- just finished Cut and Run and enjoyed that much more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2007

    You won't want to put the book down

    The Harbor Carla Neggers Reviewer Pamela Ackerson (author Home of the Braves trilogy) Zoe West's father was murdered. After being gone for a year, Zoe returns and meets FBI agent JB McGrath who is on vacation. Romance suspense, murder and intrigue. You won't want to put the book down. A superb who-done-it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting police procedural romantic suspense

    In Goose Harbor, Maine, Police Chief Patrick West stops at the home of his centenarian Aunt Olivia, the author of the Periwinkle cozies, before completing his pre-work jog. Not long afterward, while on her daily run Patrick¿s police detective daughter Zoe finds her father¿s dead body. Olivia dies the next day from the shock of her beloved nephew¿s murder. Zoe pressures everyone for answers, but none surface so she accepts a job in Connecticut. A year later, Zoe, who was fired two months ago, receives a frantic call from her sister pleading with her to come home because someone broke into her sibling¿s home. Zoe returns where she meets FBI agent J.B. McGrath whom everyone thinks he is investigating the unsolved murder of a cop. Instead, J.B., who has roots here, is on forced vacation after a harrowing undercover assignment. As J.B. and Zoe fall in love, the mere presence of them worries a killer who wants his secrets interred with Patrick and Olivia and will add a corpse or two to insure it. The sequel to THE CABIN, THE HARBOR is an exciting police procedural romantic suspense that works on all cylinders due to the mentally wounded cops. Most interesting is that neither Zoe nor J.B. are actively seeking the culprit, but everyone believes that is what both are doing, which ironically leads the duet into sleuthing. Readers will like the heroes and much of the townsfolk, but will be surprised with the identity of the villain, whom comes out of nowhere. Carla Neggers provides a powerful tale that readers will enjoy and demand Christina¿s story next. Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Good weekend read

    The Harbor is a good weekend read, set in a small Maine town.

    If you like small town adventures, this one has a great cast of characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Read it!

    Definitely not her best, but I enjoyed it. I am certainly no book critic, but I AM a reader. She entertained me with this book, and reading, I always find out something I didn't know before.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    Harbor a dud

    With all due respect to the author and my fellow readers, I found this book to be quite boring. For a murder mystery, there was very little in the way of suspense, and it wasn't very hard to figure out who the murderer is. As far as romantic thrillers go, I've read much better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2002

    Excellent book!

    Once again Vermont is the setting for one of Carla Negger's suspense filled romances. J.B. McGrath turns his forced vacation into work when he is drawn into investigating the murder of a local Goose Harbor resident and the burglaries that have struck his youngest daughter's cafe. He finds himself with an unwanted assistant, former detective Zoe West, who has come home to face the ghosts she left behind her. Those same ghosts are a part of the current investigation, as it is her father's murder and her sister's cafe that have caught J.D.'s attention. Small towns are filled with secrets and rivalry, Goose Harbor no less than any other. Digging for the truth will expose many of these, and force Zoe to face the destiny that she fled. Despite her and J.D's best intentions, they can not fight the heated attraction between them for very long, thus making their risks seem greater and more personal. ***** With an uncertain future ahead for both of them, and slim chances for survival to make the choices they must, Zoe and J.D. sizzle throughout this novel, ala MOONLIGHTING style. Carla Neggers delivers her classic story, making good use of the world she is most familiar with, small town Vermont. ***** REVIEWER: Amanda Killgore

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