Local author Mitch Grant has released his fourth book in the St. James City Mystery series entitled "The Florida Rig Murder."
Inspired by Southwest Florida's acclaimed mystery writers John D. MacDonald and Randy Wayne White, Grant, in the St. James City Mystery series, has created murder mysteries every Pine Islander will love.
Like all of Grant's books, the title comes from a fishing reference. The first book title is "Popping Cork Murder," the second "Cut Bait Murders," the third "Silver Spoon Murder" and finally this book title "The Florida Rig Murder."
According to Grant, a "Florida rig" is "a common grouper rig, also known as a Florida rig. It is a forged heavy-duty circle hook ... secured to a length of fluorocarbon leader material - a six-foot length of line that is about eighty-pound test. In turn that is tied to a heavy-duty swivel. Above that a short length of fluorocarbon, which is threaded through a green plastic bead, a red plastic bead, an egg-shaped lead sinker, and then another set of matching beads..."
In Grant's first book, published in 2013, "The Popping Cork Murder," the two main characters, Jim and Jill Story, are retired bankers who have found a small house on Pine Island - "a quaint little drinking island with a fishing problem." The Storys have settled into typical Pine Island retirement: fishing, bicycling, dining and drinking.
A short time after the couple settles into island life, a friend from their banking days comes to visit. Several days later that friend is found dead on a boat in Pine Island Sound.
Grant's second book solves another island homicide. This time it's an island resident, a line cook at the Waterfront restaurant. For the Pine Island reader, interest lies in all the familiar landmarks Grant has worked into the plot line: Bert's, Woody's, Low Key Tiki, Froggy's, Captain Con's, Tarpon Lodge and many others.
Grant's third book is the "Silver Spoon Murder." What makes this book such a fun read begins with the disclaimer in the preface. Grant emphasizes that "... this novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events, locales, or organizations is unintentional and coincidental."
While it may be "unintentional and coincidental," the fictional organizations and characters in this novel so closely resemble Pine Island organizations and people that readers will easily recognize them. Identifying those people is as much fun as figuring out who the killer is.
The "Florida Rig Murder" continues the fictional narrative of Jim and Jill Story. The Storys have lived on Pine Island for five years now. They moved to St. James City to find the peace and tranquility of island living in their retirement years but what they find in this book is yet another mysterious murder that they must help solve!
While on an innocent fishing trip for grouper Jim and his buddy's discover the mutilated corpse of a local farmer in the Gulf of Mexico. The mutilated body turns out to be one of the island's wealthy farmers, a notable and unpleasant character by the name of CV Dodge.
Once the body is pulled from the Gulf, the investigation soon leads them, and the authorities, into environmental activism and government corruption on a massive scale. The investigation uncovers no shortage of suspects, as lots of people apparently wanted Dodge dead.
The mutilation of the body suggests that the killer had a deep-seated dislike for Dodge. Was that hatred due to Dodge's recent romantic entanglement that had enraged his wife - as well his lover's husband, or possibly from his recent troubles with a local environmental activist? Or, was Dodge's death attributable to business or pleasure?
The "Florida Rig Murder" is Grant's best book to date. The characters, as always, are well developed, the mystery believable and the writing excellent. Each of Grant's book's is a mystery first, a love story second and finally a great read.
Grant is a retired banker. He is also a seventh-generation Floridian, one-time field artillery officer, champion racing driver and, most recently, aspiring buccaneer.
He and his wife, Sherry, love living in their little fishing village, where he enjoys trying to educate his grandchildren in the ways of the legendary pirates that once called this part of southwest Florida home.
"My book combines classic Florida mystery fiction with my passion for Florida life in a way that's sure to appeal to visitors to Southwest Florida, fishermen, boaters, retires and mystery fans of all ages," Grant said.
All of Grant's books are available at Amazon.com and available locally at CW Fudge Factory, Little Lilly's, Old Florida Out-post, Cabbage Key and Sandman Books.
Grant has also scheduled a book release party Thursday, Jan. 26, from 6-9 p.m., at CW Fudge, at 4548 Pine Island Road, N.W., Matlacha. Contact the shop at 239-283-9911.