Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Amagansett by Mark MIlls

The novel, Amagansett, is focused on events happening in and around the town of Amagansett, which is located on Long Island. One of the main characters, Conrad Labarde, immigrated to the United States as a small boy with his father and brother. After returning from fighting in WWII, he continues to earn a living fishing. The book opens with Conrad catching a body in his nets.

This town is also a popular place for New Yorkers to have summer homes. The tension between longtime fishing residents and summer-only visitors is exacerbated with this death of a daughter of a prominent summer family. Tom Hollis, an officer with the small town police force, suspects this is not a simple drowning. Tom is a former New York City detective sent to Amagansett as a punishment, and is not really accepted or trusted by either the fishermen or the summer people.

The author does a good job of moving between the different characters. Unlike many detective novels Tom does not spend every waking moment on the case, which seems more realistic. He even takes a day off to walk around the island with a woman he has just met.

I liked this book because it is a standalone well written mystery. It also examines what can happen when people are dropped back into their lives after serving in a war. I reviewed a more recent book by Mark Mills entitled The Savage Garden. It is also set after WWII, but in Italy. It is remarkable to me that the author was able to really capture each of these very different places.

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