Vineyard Fear (Martha's Vineyard Mystery Series #4)

Overview

Escaping the city and its violence, ex-cop Jeff "J. W." Jackson found solace in fishing, cooking, and simplyenjoying life on Martha's Vineyard -- and nothing, he figures, will ever entice him to leave. However, suddenly there's a very real possibility that his lady love Zee will be departing the idyllic island forever. And when a young student commits suicide, and a girlfriend-abusing thug starts spewing vicious threats, J. W. seriously considers a temporary escape from paradise. But it's a failed trio of ...

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Overview

Escaping the city and its violence, ex-cop Jeff "J. W." Jackson found solace in fishing, cooking, and simplyenjoying life on Martha's Vineyard -- and nothing, he figures, will ever entice him to leave. However, suddenly there's a very real possibility that his lady love Zee will be departing the idyllic island forever. And when a young student commits suicide, and a girlfriend-abusing thug starts spewing vicious threats, J. W. seriously considers a temporary escape from paradise. But it's a failed trio of attempts on his own life that ultimately propels him off-island -- and onto the trail of a stalker that's leading Jackson to the perilous peaks of the Colorado Rockies, where he quickly learns that, thorns and all, there's no place quite like his Vineyard home.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060594442
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Series: Martha's Vineyard Mystery Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 568,826
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip R. Craig grew up on a small cattle ranch near Durango, Colorado, before going off to college at Boston University, where he was an All-American fencer. He earned his M.F.A. at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. A recently retired professor of English at Wheelock College in Boston, he and his wife Shirley now live year-round on Martha's Vineyard.

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Read an Excerpt

Vineyard Fear

A Martha's Vineyard Mystery
By Craig, Philip R.

Avon Books

ISBN: 0060594446

Chapter One

The first time, I thought that I'd just been involved in a near-miss accident. The second time, I thought I'd almost killed myself. The third time, I realized that someone wanted me dead. I couldn't imagine why. But then many a murder victim probably has a look of surprise on his face.

If the bluefish hadn't gone north early or if the bonito had arrived on time, maybe none of it would have happened to me, but late July found the waters around Martha's Vineyard so barren of fish that it seemed the usually fertile sea was dead, and I worked the beaches in vain. I didn't have any better luck fishing from the Shirley J., either, partially because the midsummer winds were fluky and weak and an eighteen-foot catboat is none too swift in the best of conditions. Unlike the power boats, whose speed was not dependent upon the winds, the Shirley J. was slow to get out to the shoals and just as slow returning home, and I had little daylight fishing time between going and coming back. Not that it would have made much difference, since the shoals were almost as empty of fish as the shore and the guys in power boats weren't doing much better than I was in the Shirley J.

I was bored and eating the early summer's catch out of my freezer instead of fresh stuff out of the sea.

Of course I could have been eating shellfish. Martha's Vineyard, and Edgartown in particular, has some of the East Coast's finest shellfishing ponds, after all. I could have had clams, quahogs, mussels, or maybe even some oysters, in spite of the truism that you're really only supposed to eat oysters in months with an "r" in their names. The "oysters are mushy and tasteless in warm months" theory is not necessarily gospel. I've eaten good Vineyard oysters in the middle of the summer.

But I didn't want any shellfish. Eating shellfish bored me.

Everything bored me. If I hadn't been bored, I never would have gone across Vineyard Sound to America, and if I hadn't done that, then ...

The real problem was not the lack of fish. I had gone fishless before. The problem was that Zee had left the island for a month. I had learned about this plan for the first time in the spring, when we were down on Wasque Point on a very brisk May morning waiting for the bluefish to arrive.

Zee, wearing her waders, a sweater, a hooded sweatshirt, and her topsider jacket, did not look like her normal slender self. Her apparent bulk did not fool me, though, because I knew what she looked like in warm weather. She and I had been alternating between making casts out toward the light buoy to the south of the point (one way to determine which way "straight out" is, when it's too dark to see anything) and coming back to the truck for its meager warmth, and coffee from my large, stainless steel thermos jug.

I was as bundled up as she was, because it wasn't yet sunup and the southwest wind, blowing in from the sea, was cold. Moreover, the heater in my ancient, rusty Toyota Land Cruiser was none too good and you had to wear a lot of clothes to keep warm anytime the air was chill, even if you weren't going fishing.

When Zee came up to the truck, I would usually go down and make my casts, just so one of us would have a line in the water most of the time. Sometimes, though, we were both in the cab at the same time, drinking coffee and listening either to the C and W station from Rhode Island, which for some reason I can pick up well on Wasque, or to the classical station over in Chatham.

Gradually the sky lightened in the east, most brightly just to the left of where Nantucket lay right over the horizon, and then the sun inched into sight behind low clouds and climbed until it was a huge orange-red ball of fire coloring the sky and setting the ocean momentarily aflame. I put my rod in the spike on the front of the Land Cruiser, and dug out the slingshot I'd made from a piece of leather and two thongs. I picked up some choice pebbles from the edge of the surf. I smiled at Zee.

"Watch this."

I put a stone in the sling and whipped it down the beach. "You see that? I hit that tree dead center."

I threw another stone. Zee got out of the truck.

"I used to do this when I was a kid," I said. "Yesterday I was reading Samuel again; you know, the part where David and Goliath are promising to feed each other's flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, just before David does Goliath in, and I remembered making these things, so I made this one. Nifty, isn't it? And I haven't lost the old skill either. It must be like riding a bicycle."

"There's no tree there," said Zee.

"Use your imagination," I said. "Watch this. There! I got it again. Great, eh?"

"You're a sick man, Jefferson."

"If you'll just call some fish in, I won't have to do this. Wow! Another hit! Ah, I have the golden touch! You want to try?"

"No. Put that away, and have some coffee."

"I used to make slingshots out of forked pieces of wood and strips of rubber from old inner tubes, too, and later I had a BB gun. Ah, this brings it all back." I grinned at her, put away the slingshot, snagged my coffee cup from the dashboard, and watched the birth of yet another day. There is no prettier place to see it happen. Zee leaned on the truck beside me ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Vineyard Fear by Craig, Philip R. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Vineyard Fear
A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

Chapter One

The first time, I thought that I'd just been involved in a near-miss accident. The second time, I thought I'd almost killed myself. The third time, I realized that someone wanted me dead. I couldn't imagine why. But then many a murder victim probably has a look of surprise on his face.

If the bluefish hadn't gone north early or if the bonito had arrived on time, maybe none of it would have happened to me, but late July found the waters around Martha's Vineyard so barren of fish that it seemed the usually fertile sea was dead, and I worked the beaches in vain. I didn't have any better luck fishing from the Shirley J., either, partially because the midsummer winds were fluky and weak and an eighteen-foot catboat is none too swift in the best of conditions. Unlike the power boats, whose speed was not dependent upon the winds, the Shirley J. was slow to get out to the shoals and just as slow returning home, and I had little daylight fishing time between going and coming back. Not that it would have made much difference, since the shoals were almost as empty of fish as the shore and the guys in power boats weren't doing much better than I was in the Shirley J.

I was bored and eating the early summer's catch out of my freezer instead of fresh stuff out of the sea.

Of course I could have been eating shellfish. Martha's Vineyard, and Edgartown in particular, has some of the East Coast's finest shellfishing ponds, after all. I could have had clams, quahogs, mussels, or maybe even some oysters, in spite of the truism that you're really only supposed to eat oysters in months with an "r" in their names. The "oysters are mushy and tasteless in warm months" theory is not necessarily gospel. I've eaten good Vineyard oysters in the middle of the summer.

But I didn't want any shellfish. Eating shellfish bored me.

Everything bored me. If I hadn't been bored, I never would have gone across Vineyard Sound to America, and if I hadn't done that, then ...

The real problem was not the lack of fish. I had gone fishless before. The problem was that Zee had left the island for a month. I had learned about this plan for the first time in the spring, when we were down on Wasque Point on a very brisk May morning waiting for the bluefish to arrive.

Zee, wearing her waders, a sweater, a hooded sweatshirt, and her topsider jacket, did not look like her normal slender self. Her apparent bulk did not fool me, though, because I knew what she looked like in warm weather. She and I had been alternating between making casts out toward the light buoy to the south of the point (one way to determine which way "straight out" is, when it's too dark to see anything) and coming back to the truck for its meager warmth, and coffee from my large, stainless steel thermos jug.

I was as bundled up as she was, because it wasn't yet sunup and the southwest wind, blowing in from the sea, was cold. Moreover, the heater in my ancient, rusty Toyota Land Cruiser was none too good and you had to wear a lot of clothes to keep warm anytime the air was chill, even if you weren't going fishing.

When Zee came up to the truck, I would usually go down and make my casts, just so one of us would have a line in the water most of the time. Sometimes, though, we were both in the cab at the same time, drinking coffee and listening either to the C and W station from Rhode Island, which for some reason I can pick up well on Wasque, or to the classical station over in Chatham.

Gradually the sky lightened in the east, most brightly just to the left of where Nantucket lay right over the horizon, and then the sun inched into sight behind low clouds and climbed until it was a huge orange-red ball of fire coloring the sky and setting the ocean momentarily aflame. I put my rod in the spike on the front of the Land Cruiser, and dug out the slingshot I'd made from a piece of leather and two thongs. I picked up some choice pebbles from the edge of the surf. I smiled at Zee.

"Watch this."

I put a stone in the sling and whipped it down the beach. "You see that? I hit that tree dead center."

I threw another stone. Zee got out of the truck.

"I used to do this when I was a kid," I said. "Yesterday I was reading Samuel again; you know, the part where David and Goliath are promising to feed each other's flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, just before David does Goliath in, and I remembered making these things, so I made this one. Nifty, isn't it? And I haven't lost the old skill either. It must be like riding a bicycle."

"There's no tree there," said Zee.

"Use your imagination," I said. "Watch this. There! I got it again. Great, eh?"

"You're a sick man, Jefferson."

"If you'll just call some fish in, I won't have to do this. Wow! Another hit! Ah, I have the golden touch! You want to try?"

"No. Put that away, and have some coffee."

"I used to make slingshots out of forked pieces of wood and strips of rubber from old inner tubes, too, and later I had a BB gun. Ah, this brings it all back." I grinned at her, put away the slingshot, snagged my coffee cup from the dashboard, and watched the birth of yet another day. There is no prettier place to see it happen. Zee leaned on the truck beside me ...

Vineyard Fear
A Martha's Vineyard Mystery
. Copyright © by Philip Craig. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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