Steeped in Maine island lore, this century-spanning double mystery pits a renegade fishing community against an unhappy child-bride of the 1820s, a defiant twenty-first-century teen, and a hard-drinking botanist—Dr. Gil Hodges—who escapes to the island of Matinicus to avoid a crazed ex-lover and verify a rumored 22 species of wild orchid, only to find himself hounded by the ghost of a child some two-hundred years dead.
If Gil’s hoping for peace and quiet, he’s clearly come to the wrong place. Generations of infighting among loose-knit lobstering clans have left them openly hostile to outsiders. When a beautiful, bed-hopping stranger sails into the harbor, old resentments re-ignite and people begin to die—murders linked, through centuries of violence, to a diary whose secrets threaten to tear the island apart.
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About the Author
Darcy Scott is a live-aboard sailor and experienced ocean cruiser who’s sailed to Grenada and back on a whim, island-hopped through the Caribbean, and been struck by lightning in the middle of the Gulf Stream. Her favorite cruising ground remains the coast of Maine, however, and her appreciation of the history and rugged beauty of its sparsely populated out-islands serves as inspiration for her Maine Island Mystery Series, which includes 2012’s award-winning "Matinicus" and the newly-released "Reese’s Leap." Book three, "Ragged Island," is currently in the works. Her debut novel, "Hunter Huntress," was published in June, 2010 by Snowbooks, Ltd., UK. Learn more at www.DarcyScott.net.
What People are Saying About This
A feisty, spine-tingling tale of multiple murders on a remote island in Maine, packed with tough, memorable characters. A spell-binding thriller with an extremely satisfying finish.
—Katherine Mayfield, author of The Box of Daughter
One part ghost story, two parts murder mystery, Scott's chilling portrayal of island-life gone wrong makes for one fantastic tale.
—Spencer Seidel, author of Dead of Wynter and Lovesick
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Scott gives us a tightly plotted, expertly populated ghost story set in the present and the past on one of the most renowned but unknown islands of Maine.The plot is so fantastic that reviewing it is going to be a bit of a tip-toe but I'm going to try to explain why I'm such a cheerleader for this one without giving it away.First there's the setting: Matinicus Island is the furthest out of Maine's populated islands with an official population of about 50. It is not someplace one just drops in for an afternoon of sightseeing. The families who live there are close-knit, often related, and depend almost entirely on lobstering for their income and each other for their survival. There's a single general store, a unisex barber/hair dresser, some satellite dishes, an assortment of unregistered and unlicensed objects that pass for transportation devices, numerous dogs of unknown parentage, no local law enforcement, no doctors or lawyers, (there are two EMTs), and sporadic plane, boat and ferry service (when the fog is lifted) between the island and "America."Then there are the characters:-- A disenchanted teenaged girl (is there another kind?) who is waiting for the mother who abandoned her 10 years ago to return.-- The hard working couple who run the island store/restaurant/bar/post office, etc etc, etc;-- A visiting college professor on sabbatical, who is ostensibly counting trees and cataloging orchids, but who in reality is hiding out from his latest disastrous sexual conquest.-- A raucous assortment of crusty, hard-drinking lobstermen...boat owners, sternmen, and wannabes.-- A ghost who is haunting the 1799 residence where the college professor is staying.-- A drop-dead gorgeous widow(?) who arrives in her gazillion $$ yacht with an unquenchable libido, a propensity for sunbathing au naturale, dancing on pool tables,and whose wealthy husband has apparently fallen overboard on the way.These propel an incredible plot:The college professor finds an old diary in his haunted house detailing the massacre of passengers of a shipwreck off the coast, the love life of the original occupants of the house, and some other details that can't be revealed here without giving you the whole enchilada.The local lobstermen are in the midst of a "lobster war" - a snarling fight over territorial rights that periodically breaks out in violence as locals try to keep those "from away" out of their perceived private fishing grounds. Although the State law allows anyone with a license to fish anyplace in Maine waters, the Matinicus population has tended over the years to ignore that little piece of legality and enforces its own brand of island justice to repel the outsiders, who often find their expensive traps have suddenly "gone missing." At the time of this story, there's a full-scale dust-up a-brewing.At the same time the professor arrives, all hell seems bent on breaking loose, and dead bodies keep appearing...usually found by said professor. Is he responsible? Are they related to the lobster wars? Is there a serial killer loose on the island? How come the ghost seems so agitated?Throw in some good old fashioned Maine foul weather, some very crusty and rough language, some fairly explicit sex scenes, a little pot, a lotta booze, and you've got a rip roaring, page turning tale. Then top it off with an absolutely "I never saw that one coming!" ending, and we have here a winner! This is being sold as the first of the Island Mystery series, (and includes the opening pages of the next installment). I certainly hope Ms Scott can follow through, because it's going to be hard to follow this one!
Wow, Mantinicus is an absolutely must read for anyone who loves a good mystery and characters you can totally relate to. I get that small towns and islanders are a lot alike in that they each know everybody's business and have their own peculiar ways of dealing with things. And Darcy Scott sets the reading stage to perfection. Our protagonist, Gil Hodges, has his flaws, although he is trying to improve himself, drinks a little too much, is an outsider, and he has a consceince, albeit, it is often GUILTY! But he's one of those guys you just gotta love! And he tries to help solve the island murders, but isn't prepared for the island justice that follows. Nor is he prepared for the twisted surprise ending which was awesome. One of the best mysteries this year in my humble opinion! It took a bit of reading to get to the hook, but from then on, I couldn't let it go and I'm not one bit regretful of this fascinating story by an excellent story weaver!
I received this book for a fair and honest review. This book for me is kind of slow. I really had to force myself to read it. Gil goes to Matinicus that is described in a way that I think of as a long forgotten hidden town. It's in the middle of no where without any real civilization although they do have people living there and people coming to visit. The author is able to descibe the area in a way that you stop reading to think of a place you can picture this story taking place in. I instantly thought of a place like China Beach for some reason. I feel its a unique twist to have a murder mystery themed book with the past and present interwined together with perfection.
Reviewed by Jed Power for Readers Favorite It would be unpleasant if I had to say much negative points about a novel whose protagonist drinks my brand of beer. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that. “Matinicus: An Island Mystery” by Darcy Scott, that spans generations, makes it unnecessary. Gil Hodges, a botanist and teacher, returns to a small island off the coast of Maine which had been home to one of his students now deceased. Immediately, dead bodies start popping up faster than a high tide among the clannish island inhabitants. At the same time Gil stumbles across a 200 year old diary with strange contents that seem to mimic the murderous events he finds himself involved in now. Toss in a beautiful nymph with an expensive sailboat and a recently deceased husband, a 15 year old motherless teen with her own secrets, a poltergeist bent on giving Gil assistance and an island cast of...well, characters. Very colorful characters indeed. It all adds up to a great read. When I first read paranormal content and read that sections of the novel took place 200 years ago, I was wary, neither being my cup of tea. But there was no need for worry. The paranormal is minimal, necessary to the story and surprisingly, for me, quite enjoyable. Again surprisingly, I found the chapters that took place in the days of the early inhabitants of the island just as engrossing and just as chilling as those concerning their modern day descendants. Ms. Darcy paints a fine portrait of island life, in both time periods. She creates characters who are just that--characters, very secretive and dangerous characters. And quite believable. Can I use cliches? Sure I can. “Matinicus: An Island Mystery” is a real page turner. And, oh yeah, pass the popcorn, please.
This is a gnarly, gritty story about the coastal island Matinicus that the guide books don't want you to read. Well developed characters and a twisty plot make for a great summer read. Highly recommend it.
I love stories within stories, and this one was seamlessly done. I stayed up way too late because I couldn't put it down. Wonderful surprize ending!