Blood Island by H. Terrell Griffin
After reading Bitter Legacy, the fifth novel in the Matt Royal series by author H. Terrell Griffin, I knew I wanted to read the earlier books in the series. Blood Island, the third installment in the series, hits the ground running as Matt Royal, a former soldier and lawyer who has retired to Longboat Key, Florida, finds a body in a vulture cage at a local wildlife refuge. We learn that trouble seems to follow Matt, but fortunately, his friendship with the local police chief helps to assure the authorities that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Upon his return home, Matt is shocked to learn that his ex wife, Laura, has left a message to arrange a meeting with him. When they get together, Laura explains that her stepdaughter, Peggy, has been missing and was last seen on Longboat Key. Despite the divorce, Matt still loves Laura and agrees to help search for the missing girl. As he investigates the disappearance, he finds himself involved with murder, religious cults, prostitution, and terrorist attempts. All this, he learns, is linked to the mysterious Blood Island and the people who own it. When Laura also goes missing, Matt races to unravel the mystery before it is too late.
Griffin clearly has a great love for Florida. The setting and the people who inhabit this story all carry a type of reality that can only be portrayed by someone who has experienced them. In the hands of any other author, this kind of fast paced thriller could become shallow, but Griffin infuses enough emotion, historical fact, and suspense to keep the reader thoroughly invested in the story. In a genre that is often filled with plot based story telling, it is nice to have a book that keeps a sense of truth while still providing entertainment. This novel is a quick read and a really fun mystery.
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