Harbor Island by Carla Neggers (♦♦♦♦)

Emma and Colin have been in Boston for a few days, back from their Irish getaway detailed in Declan's Cross. Emma receives a call from a confidential source to meet in Bristol Island, an island in the Boston harbor. When Emma arrives, she finds the woman dead of a gunshot.

The victim's name was Rachel Bristol, a movie director interested in making a movie about the Declan's Cross art heist. She had been staying at a house property of her ex-husband in an affluent neighborhood in Boston. The morning of her death she was supposed to have a meeting with her ex-husband Travis, and Maisie, his daughter and movie mogul producer.

Travis and Maisie are naturally distressed by the news, though Finian Bracken learns through Maisie that she didn't share Rachel's vision for the movie and wanted to sever their links. Apparently Rachel thought that she had figured out the identity of the serial art thief.

To complicate matters further, Oliver Fairbairn, an English mythologist consulting for the upcoming movie is also staying at the house and raising questions as well...Add into the mix a security expert in love with Maisie, guarding her at her mother's request, and the beautiful and dashing Aoife O'Byrne visiting Boston for the first time, whom more than one think is the thief, and keeping Finian as company, which is raising eyebrows.

I really liked Harbor Island, the latest installment in the Sharpe & Donovan series, which started with Saint’s Gate, and followed with Heron’s Cove and Declan’s Cross (initial review and re-read).

In Harbor Island several things happened: 1) we finally know the identity of the serial art thief as well as his motivations; 2) we get to know Father Bracken better as a man, with temptations and all, which make him utterly human; 3) there’s a lot of lovemaking, which was fun on the side because it distracted from the lack of progress and the excessive questions in the investigation; 4) we got some sense of humor courtesy of the characters we know by now, which is newish and very welcome; 5) Emma shared a memory, and I know that’s not much but memories are part of the things that make us  human, and Emma so far has been a mystery in that regard. I hope Carla Neggers uses that recourse more often in future installments because that’s a glimpse, however brief, of what she was like before joining the FBI.

The atmosphere of suspense is lost in this installment, but the mystery, meaning the identity of the culprits, isn’t, so in that regard Harbor Island is as solid as we’ve come to expect from this series. There aren’t art depictions in this story, but we are regaled with stories of Celtic lore and Nordic mythology, and as always they’re very relevant to the plot.

In summary, Harbor Island is a solid, much improved in many regards, entry in the Sharpe & Donovan series. The folklore, the mystery and the humor don’t disappoint.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.