Finished Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“San Francisco police detective Michael O’Higgins has been paralyzed with grief since his wife’s tragic death at sea. Unable to care for their teenage daughter and barely keeping his head above water at work, O’Higgins finds his faith in humanity restored when he meets a charming Indian family on his ferry home. But when he is called to investigate a murder, and finds that the victim is the father he met on that ferry, Michael must solve a mystery that threatens to shatter his already broken life.
“No one writes about the heart of darkness like Kent Harrington” -Michael Connelly Since his wife’s death at sea, San Francisco Police Detective Michael O’Higgins has been paralyzed by grief and shame – unable to care for their teenaged daughter, who saw her mother swept away, and unable to deal with the daily requirements of his job. Almost a year after his wife’s death, O’Higgins takes a ferry ride as part of his therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. On the boat, he meets a charming Indian family: successful young husband, two lovely daughters, and a kind, beautiful wife and mother.
O’Higgins has no idea that he will meet this woman again on his first day back after bereavement leave, when he and his partner are called to a Nob Hill mansion to investigate a homicide. The victim is the handsome man O’Higgins met on the ferry, and his wife, Asha Chaundhry, is the obvious suspect.
Asha Chaundhry becomes the center of O’Higgins’ investigation. The victim’s father, a prominent Indian politician and business tycoon, is anxious to keep his son’s death out of the public eye, and to have the investigation resolved as quickly as possible. As O’Higgins digs into the Chaundhrys’ business and political dealings, he becomes convinced of Asha’s innocence, while her father-in-law seeks to isolate her from friends and defenders, even sending her children back to extended family in India. Increasingly desperate, Asha turns to O’Higgins for comfort, in a way that threatens both his recovery and his career.”
This is a hard book to classify. It’s part police procedural, your standard “whodunnit.” It’s part a guide on how to survive what you think you won’t ever be able to move past (Michael still isn’t over his wife’s sudden death, although that’s something you never really move past; he’s just starting to surface when he returns to work and immediately gets assigned this double murder case) and it’s part international intrigue. It’s a lot to pack into a book that’s under 300 pages, and Kent Harrington does a great job of making sure nothing feels rushed or thrown in.
In general, I’m someone who wants long books; shorter stories seem to be over way too soon. This book feels longer than it is (in the good way, in the Cormac McCarthy way).
I was fascinated by the international intrigue and the glimpse into Indian life and the Hindu religion. It’s not a culture I’m very familiar with, and I wish the book had gone a bit more deeply into that (although I understand that it wouldn’t really have fit in, so I understand why it was left out).
I definitely need to read some of Kent Harrington’s backlist; this book is good and I definitely want to read more.