Sand Sharks (Deborah Knott Series #15)

Sand Sharks (Deborah Knott Series #15)

3.9 25
by Margaret Maron

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Judge Deborah Knott can't wait to trade the lush fields of Colleton County for the clear blue ocean and long stretches of sand at Wrightsville Beach. A summer conference for the North Carolina district court judges couldn't come soon enough for Deborah, who is overwhelmed by her newly married life and the responsibilities of being a mom.

Lying beneath the hot


Judge Deborah Knott can't wait to trade the lush fields of Colleton County for the clear blue ocean and long stretches of sand at Wrightsville Beach. A summer conference for the North Carolina district court judges couldn't come soon enough for Deborah, who is overwhelmed by her newly married life and the responsibilities of being a mom.

Lying beneath the hot summer sun in Wrightsville and reconnecting with old friends over delicious seafood dinners in nearby Wilmington, Deborah finally begins to unwind. But tensions are building beneath the surface of this seemingly peaceful resort area. Deborah's relaxing trip to the seaside takes a sudden, dark turn when she stumbles upon the strangled corpse of one of her less-admired colleagues. It doesn't take long before she realizes that the killer may have another target, much closer to home.

Unwilling to stand idly by while the murderer draws near, Deborah begins to investigate alone. At each turn, her list of suspects grows to include everyone from her judicial colleagues and friends to local television personalities and restaurant employees, and soon it seems that anyone in Wilmington could be capable of murder.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Maron writes with such a strong sense of place that you can even smell the ocean air on Wrightsville Beach. The plot, populated with enticing characters, moves swiftly; an essential read for Maron fans and mystery lovers."—Library Journal
Publishers Weekly

Discovering a murdered colleague isn't quite the adventure Deborah Knott anticipated during her getaway/conference in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., but as fans of Maron's Edgar- and Anthony-winning series know, trouble seems to cling to her like cornmeal on hush puppies. Her 15th outing (after 2008's Death's Half Acre) finds the feisty judge agreeing to aid local investigators with discreet inquiries among her fellow conventioneers. She quickly encounters plenty of folks none too distressed by the victim's demise, including one of her own exes, and escalating danger. Unfortunately, as the pace quickens the plot starts to fall apart, culminating in a pell-mell scramble to a rather unconvincing denouement. On the plus side, Maron's homespun evocation of people and place is typically pitch-perfect, her use of the judicial milieu skillful-and her engaging heroine as welcome a companion as you could wish for under a beach umbrella. (Aug.)

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Kirkus Reviews
It's open season on the North Carolina judiciary. While her new husband, sheriff's deputy Dwight Bryant, and his son Cal clear out belongings from his first marriage, Judge Deborah Knott (Death's Half Acre, 2008, etc.) heads to Wrightsville Beach for the annual conference of North Carolina district court judges. It has attracted former lovers, would-be lovers, philandering husbands and, once again, a body or two. Slightly bent Judge Jeffreys-who accepted bribes in custody suits, dismissed a case that left a carjacker free to commit rape and murder and ran a dirty campaign that scuttled another man's election-winds up strangled and tossed in the bushes. Deborah, relieving herself of too many margaritas, finds the body and, bad luck for her, is in the parking lot when Judge Fitzhume is smacked into a coma by a marauding driver who's later found dead in the red Geo that sped from the scene. Could one of the conference attendees be a killer? As a reward for trying to piece together motive and opportunity with the help of local law enforcement, Deborah finds herself locked in the trunk of her own car, escaping thanks to a trick she learned at Dwight's insistence. Deborah's mojo is having an off day, and the tale sorely lacks the gumption of old-timer Kezzie. Midlevel Maron, with slightly repugnant homophobia as a subplot.
Associated Press Staff
"Tightly written....Maron wraps up the plot so neatly that there's no question why she's one of America's best mystery writers."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Gripping and beautifully written."
"HARD ROW is laced with strong and timely political statements about undocumented workers....Readers will be satisfied with the newest entry in this reliable series."

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Deborah Knott Series , #15
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

MARGARET MARON grew up in the country near Raleigh, North Carolina, but for many years lived in Brooklyn, New York. When she and her artist husband returned to the farm that had been in her family for a hundred years, she began a series based on her own background. The first book, Bootlegger's Daughter, became a Washington Post bestseller that swept the major mystery awards for its year-winning the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards for Best Novel-and is among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. Later Deborah Knott novels Up Jumps the Devil, Storm Track, and Three-Day Town each also won the Agatha Award for Best Novel. Margaret is also the author of the Sigrid Harald series of detective novels. In 2008, Maron received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the highest civilian honor the state bestows on its authors. And in 2013, the Mystery Writers of America celebrated Maron's contributions to the mystery genre by naming her a Grand Master-an honor first bestowed on Agatha Christie. To find out more about her, you can visit

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Sand Sharks (Deborah Knott Series #15) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
WordSmith707 More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of the Deborah Knott Series and this book did not disappoint! A good read, well plotted story, kept me guessing - I totally enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have all the other Deborah Knott books and this one was worth waiting for. Can't wait for the next installment!!!!!!!!
RegencyReader More than 1 year ago
When Judge Deborah Knott decides to attend the Spring Conference of Judges what she is seeking is a little beach time, a chance to mix and mingle with her friends and peers plus grab an insight on all the updates to the judicial system. What she never expected is to be the one that would discover a dead body the first night nor be involved in anything even remotely unsavory this far from home. With Dwight away with Cal cleaning out the home of his deceased ex-wife's in Virginia, Deborah's first line of support is unable to provide the emotional support she has come to rely on. He is always free with advice even if it is over the phone but any problems that arise will be hers to handle. After it is discovered the dead man was an unpopular and disliked judge who is suspected of a number of not unprofessional acts Deborah does her best to work the case on her own. Deborah is never one to sit idly by or shy away from any investigation whether her assistance is requested or not is asked by the officer to do a little snooping amoungst the judges and help him uncover why someone would want this judge killed. Deborah of course being the "helpful" officer of the court that she is jumps at the chance. While circulating through the crowd and listening in on the different workshops she spends a bit of that time asking questions of everyone including her cousin Reid Stephenson who it turns out is attending another conference in the same area. While Deborah would never suspect Reid of anything untoward, he appears to have had a history with the murdered judge and while it may be just a coincidence why is he pleading with her to not tell the authorities - what is Reid up to now? While Deborah has always viewed Reid as a younger brother such is not the case with her ex-husband Allen Stancil. Why are so many of the men in her life that she doesn't need showing up at the wrong place. It appears that Allan now is a respectable businessman with custody of his children but it seems he too has a questionable relationship with the judge prior to his being killed. There are so many judges, too much personal drama for her liking and way too much of her ex-husband who is really not an ex-husband since he failed to divorce the other wife first. On top of dealing with Reid, her ex-husband, a lecherous judge that refuses to understand she is not interested there is also the drama of the judge who just can't stop cheating on his wife even while they are trying to reconcile. What a mess Deborah is in now and Dwight is too far away to offer anything but emotional support which she needs but not as much as the comfort his presence brings. This book is what every reader dreams about - a great lead character, superior storyline and a mystery that until you are told "who did it" you cannot even venture to guess. The only downside is the number of judges mentioned can be a little confusing but not overwhelming as the story progresses and you figure out all the players - it just takes some long term memory to remind you of who is doing what with whom. You miss Dwight, Mr. Kezzie and the extended family but Deborah can and does indeed carry her own story without any of them even being a secondary character. Ms. Maron is the master of this genre and every year the end of summer she reminds the reader how a great mystery is written.
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Unfortunately, the Deborah Knott series appears to have completely run out of steam. This book is almost totally lacking in the elements that have made most of the other books in the series so charming---i.e., Deborah's new husband (Dwight) & stepson (Cal) & her fascinating clan of brothers, their wives & her "Daddy." Dwight only makes cameo appearance in the very beginning & at the end. During the remainder of the book, Deborah is at a conference in another city with a huge cast of superfluous characters. Since the storyline is very thin, the author resorts to padding it by describing everyone's appearance & clothing & the furnishings of every room in exhaustive detail. Also, the book is printed in a large type font with wide margins--another sure sign that there is not much of a story there. This might have been a good short story, but it's not worth the price of a full-length book & I won't rush out to buy the next one.
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oldwomaninpurple More than 1 year ago
Since the Bootleggers Daughter I've read and enjoyed her colorful and entertaining accoutns of fellow North Carolinaians!
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Judge Deborah Knott looks forward to getting away from the bench and her new family after an incident with her husband Dwight and his son as she attends a conference in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. After a couple of more negative events this time at the conference, a tipsy Deborah escorted by friends pukes into the water where she sees the corpse of Judge Peter Jeffreys. Local authorities are well aware Deborah has solved homicides (see DEATH'S HALF ACRE) so they ask her to help them by going undercover and making circumspect inquiries amongst the other judicial attendees. Deborah is taken aback when she realizes several participants are not upset and in fact sort of joyful over the death of Peter. As she digs a bit deeper, someone is aware of her efforts and scrutinizes her every move to insure if she gets a bit too close she will be victim number two. Deborah, as she always does, turns this whodunit into an entertaining often amusing homespun regional mystery. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the judge vomits and never slows down although the climax seems unbelievably forced. Still SAND SHARKS is a solid entry as Deborah un-knots the complicated life of the victim who did bad things from the bench, but one obviously rebounded deadly. Harriet Klausner
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another hole in the ground with a lichen entrance. A dirt ramp leads down to a large cave with many nests.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Margaret Maron book. I usually avoid character series, because of what the reader has to bring to the new story, but I hoped to get caught up in the mystery. I got it at an incredibly low price because the book store was going out of business. All the main character seems to do is chat up characters who swing in and out of chapters. I don't know of her friend/family relationships because it is my first experience with the Deborah Knott series. I would have given it one star in some categories, but that option did not seem available when I tried. Maybe if you have grown to love Deborah Knott you would appreciate the story more. I love the North Carolina setting, but not this story.