From Publishers Weekly
A sudden storm drives Sam Acquillo and his girlfriend, Amanda Anselma, and their sailboat into harbor at Fishers Island in Knopf's tense fifth mystery featuring the ex-corporation man turned Long Island carpenter (after 2009's Hard Stop). While the couple await parts for their disabled boat, Christian Fey, the owner of the Black Swan, a small hotel Fey runs with his grown daughter and son, reluctantly gives them lodging. Other guests at the Black Swan, equally unwelcome, are Fey's three former business partners in a software company he helped found and to whom he apparently sold. When one of the former partners dies in circumstances that suggest a killer in their midst, Sam must ferret out the corporate secrets that threaten to engulf him and Amanda as well as the Feys. The vivid descriptions of an angry sea and the monster storm that strikes the island fairly dwarf the human threats facing Sam and Amanda. (May)
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Knopf has mastered the verbal drill for tough guys in tight situations, and like Sam s nautical know-how, his banter with imperfect strangers is a cut above the norm. (Called out on a tactless remark and asked what s wrong with him, he replies: Chronic inappropriateness. ) This unexpected sail into danger makes for a stimulating story, providing Sam with a lot to tell the gang at the bar when he finally gets home. --The New York Times
Despite its title, Sam Acquillo s fifth adventure has nothing to do with the movies, at least not movies about high-strung, overworked ballerinas. As a favor to his wealthy lawyer friend Burton Lewis, engineer-turned-carpenter Sam and his girlfriend, banker-turned-contractor Amanda Anselma, are sailing Burton s boat, Carpe Ma ana, down from Maine when rough seas on Long Island Sound force them to put in at Fishers Island. Christian Fey, the retired computer genius of Subversive Technologies, is less than enthusiastic about putting them up at the Black Swan, the inn he recently purchased, and his son Axel, an autistic savant, is no more effusive. But Fey s daughter Anika welcomes Sam with open arms and bedclothes. The Edenic temptations she offers are complemented by the arrival of the serpent Derrick Hammon, Subversive s new CEO, with an entourage that includes his put-upon female companion Del Rey; Bernard t Hooft, who s more than just muscle, and Jock and Pierre, who are just muscle. The guest list is completed by Subversive co-founder Myron Sanderfreud, who s barely checked in when he checks out, and his wife Grace, whose role is limited to screaming. When the island s sole law-enforcement officer is beaten nearly to death and her replacement locked in a cell in his own jail, it s obvious that the winds have blown in quite another screenplay, this one from Key Largo, and that only Sam has the stuff to play the Bogart role --Kirkus Reviews
Praise for the Sam Acquillo mysteries: Knopf has a touch I like -- cool, careful, reflective -- and a great ear for the comic eccentricities of the human voice. --The New York Times