In Dead Man’s Island, the first book in Carolyn G. Hart’s Henrie O series, Henrietta O’Dwyer Collins gets a summons from her long ago flame, Chase Prescott, the rich owner of a media empire, to his own island, known locally as Dead Man’s Island. Henrie O had made a name for herself as a top investigative reporter before changing gears ten years earlier to writing crime fiction. It is Henrie O’s detection skills that Prescott needs, as someone has tried to murder him with poisoned chocolate, so he has gathered all the individuals who could have had the opportunity to slip him poisoned chocolate on his isolated island accessible only by boat and expects Henrie O to solve the crime. This begins a weekend full of horror and mayhem that concludes with a hurricane that destroys the whole island.
This book is much darker and edgier than the Death on Demand series that made Hart famous. The numerous suspects hardly endear themselves to the reader, and the forbidding hurricane symbolizes the evil at work on the island. However, the character of Henrie O, a widow with a sharp mind and strong personality, gives a refreshing new detective to mystery fiction.
Kate Reading performs the narration of the audio edition of this book. I always enjoy Reading’s books and consider her to be my favorite American woman narrator because she brings her books to life in a talented way.
Dead Man’s Island came across as a bit too dark for me, but I did appreciate the conclusion. I enjoyed the lead character and do intend to give the second book in this series a chance, mainly because I do like Henrie O herself, as well as the writing of Hart’s Death on Demand series. I give this book three stars.
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