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Night Watch: An Em Ridge Mystery Kindle Edition
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The third point needs amplification. Hall, the author, is a sailor and she has wisely chosen a milieu in which she's knowledgeable and comfortable. That could have gone off the rails, but she's careful to place all nautical references in a context that the reader can understand. No stoppers where the reader is taken out of the story while trying to decipher the meaning or importance of a nautical reference. Thank you, Ms. Hall, for letting us understand and enjoy the context; too many authors who write in their professional niche tend to show off.
The action starts immediately when Em Ridge lands her first job as a captain, and it instantly goes sour. Things get progressively worse as Em tries to cope with unfolding events and her own naiveté which leaves her open to mounting problems and suspicions. No spoiler: she staggers out alive at the end (this is the first in a series on her) but she narrowly escapes death on three occasions. Em is an endearing – and sometimes exasperating – heroine. She's too trusting, too easily charmed, and too slow to seek help when she needs it. These qualities push this novel into the genre of cozy mystery. If you expect that your lead character will have a few quirks and flaws, Linda Hall is an author you'll follow. The clarity of vision and decisiveness found in the heroes who populate mass market novels are, thankfully, absent. In fact, I started to worry about Em's ability to make sound decisions where men were concerned. At some level she senses that she may be making a mistake, but I felt that if she were left to her own devices she'd wind up teaming up with a villain. Fate rescues her from making such a mistake on two occasions.
The impression of her being a little too accepting stayed with me to the last page where, again, she's becoming involved with another man with an uncertain record. I belabor this to warn romance readers that this is no bodice ripper (one kiss), and it certainly doesn't fall into that genre (it must have a name) of the young/strong/beautiful/avenging female who is done hard by in the first chapter and spends the next 300 pages making men pay for it.
Coming back to the relevant point: Em is relatable; you'll worry about her (in)ability to determine who her friends and her foes are; and she doesn't seem to have learned much by the final page. I like that consistency as it makes her human and realistic.
I strongly recommend the book and I look forward to reading the second in the series.
By Benedict P. Mercadante "Ben Mercadante" (Odessa, Fl)
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This review is from: Night Watch: An Em Ridge Mystery (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Fast paced adventure and mystery novel, I had an enjoyable time reading, was perfect for my time off.The nautical backdrop was realistic and well written, it also was a good fit regarding the character and plot development. Em Ridge is a down to earth believable, if not reluctant victim that guides one through all the twists and turns as the story unfolds to her surprise. Towards the end the plot tightens up, so hunker down, as the action also picks up.
The dream job soon turns into a nightmare, after one of the crew, the billionaire's daughter, who is along for the trip, turns up missing. The murder mystery, in itself, is enough to keep a reader's interest, but then a much larger mystery becomes the main focus. I don't like to add spoilers, so I won't. But things soon take a big turn and you realize it's going to be a late night, because there is no way you can put the book down and go to sleep. At least that is what happened to me. And it is that way throughout the story. Every time I thought I was getting a handle on things something new popped up that kept me reading. This story has it all, a murder, more than one, actually, a coded message from Em's late husband, a stolen painting, a missing key, and a main character you cannot help but like. And all of these lead to a suspenseful ending.
The characters are well developed, and Em is as real as it gets. The author's knowledge of boats comes across through Em. The author does a wonderful job of placing the reader there. The sounds, smells, great visuals, and emotions bring the story to life in such a way I felt as if I was observing the story unfold before my eyes. If you enjoy reading mysteries or suspense, you will enjoy this story. The writing is on par with that of best-selling authors I read like J.A. Jance, Sandra Brown, and Steve Martini.
Based on this story, I can hardly wait until Em shows up again. The sooner the better. I would not hesitate to purchase the next Em mystery.
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