When an FBI agent’s clandestine meeting with an anonymous informant turns into a cold-blooded murder scene, the only clue seems to involve the most legendary and elusive art thief in the world. From the New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty books, Carla Neggers, comes HARBOR ISLAND her latest novel featuring former nun and art crime expert turned FBI agent, Emma Sharpe.
Emma Sharpe is still getting used to life with her new fiancé and fellow FBI agent, Colin Donovan, when she receives an anonymous phone call asking her to come to a remote island off the Boston Harbor.
Emma arrives, to find a dead woman lying in a pool of blood. Gripped in the victim’s cold palm is a stone bearing the signature Celtic inscription of an international thief whom Emma’s family of art detectives has been chasing for the past decade.
Emma discovers that the victim, Rachel Bristol, was a filmmaker working on a movie based on the exploits of the legendary art thief, but her research may have led her too close to the truth and gotten her killed. Or perhaps she is the victim of her former husband and stepdaughter, Travis and Maisie Bristol, two of Hollywood’s most powerful movie producers. The Bristols are working on their own film version of the art thefts and clearly didn’t appreciate the competition.
And what of Oliver Fairbairn, a Hollywood consultant on matters of Celtic mythology exactly like the type inscribed on the stone in the dead woman’s hand? Suspicion even falls on Emma’s friend Finian Bracken, a tortured Irish priest now living in Maine. Ten years ago, however, Father Bracken was Mr. Bracken, a happily married businessman who now has ties to the same Irish village where the now infamous art thief struck for the very first time.
Harbor Island is the fourth book in the Sharpe and Donovan series and it happens to be the first in the S&D series that I read. While I wouldn’t say that I felt lost in the plot having not read the previous book, I think the book would have flowed better (as the novel—I believe—picks up directly from the last book) if I would have read the others.
I had a little trouble getting into the book. It wasn’t so much that it was slow but rather it referenced events that had happened before and I felt a tad bit out of the loop with the characters as well as the mystery going on. I couldn’t seem to connect with the characters or truly become invested in them.
The mystery of the art thefts as well as the murder is what kept me reading the book. I also enjoyed the very detailed backdrops of Boston and Ireland.
Overall, I liked the mystery aspect and I think I may have enjoyed the characters a bit more if I would have read the previous books in the S&D series.
Title: Harbor Island
Miniseries: Sharpe & Donovan
Author: Carla Neggers
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: September 2013
$24.95 U.S./$27.95 CAN.
How I Read It: Trade Paperback ARC from Meryl Moss Media Relations
Rating: 3.5 Crowns
About The Author
New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers is always plotting her next adventure—whether in life or for one of her novels. She wrote her first stories when she climbed her favorite sugar maple with pad and pen at age eleven. Now she is the author of more than sixty novels of romantic suspense and contemporary romance, including her acclaimed Sharpe & Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have sold in over thirty countries, with translations in two-dozen languages, and have earned awards, rave reviews and the loyalty of readers.
Growing up in rural western Massachusetts with three brothers and three sisters, Carla developed an eye for detail and an enduring love for a good story. “My parents moved to New England just before I was born,” says the author. “My father was a Dutch sailor and my mother is from the South. We kids learned about Holland and the Florida Panhandle—faraway places to us—through stories our parents told on walks in the woods or sitting by the fire.”
Carla’s curiosity and vivid imagination are key to creating the complex relationships and deep sense of place in her books. At the core of every novel she writes is what Publishers Weekly has called her “flair for creating likable, believable characters and her keen recognition of the obstacles that can muddle relationships.”
Carla sold her first book not long after graduating magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in journalism. An accomplished musician, she studied with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and freelanced as an arts-and-entertainment reporter—always with a novel in the works. After the birth of her first child, Carla finally worked up the courage to submit a manuscript to an agent. “I would type with my daughter on the blotter next to me,” says Carla. “Then she learned to roll over, and I put her on a blanket on the floor!”
When she isn’t writing, Carla loves to read, travel, hike, garden and spend time with her large family. Get-togethers at her family’s tree farm on the western edge of the Quabbin Reservoir are a favorite. She and her husband, Joe, a native of middle Tennessee, have two grown children and two adorable grandchildren. They are frequent travelers to Ireland and divide their time between Boston and their hilltop home in Vermont, not far from picturesque Quechee Gorge.
For more information, please visit her at CarlaNeggers.com.