Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book Review: Death Runs Adrift by Karen MacInerney (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries #6)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and mystery with a little added depth
Cons: A tad slow out of the gate, but once it gains speed it doesn't slow down
The Bottom Line:
A young man's murder
Let's us revisit the inn
And these charming friends

Dead Body Drifting in a Dinghy

Who would have ever guessed that a tiny island off the coast of Maine would become a hot bed for murder and other crimes.  Death Runs Adrift is now the sixth entry in the Gray Whale Inn series, so obviously there is trouble on the island again.

If you aren't familiar with the series, it stars Natalie Barnes.  A few years ago, Natalie gave up her job and life in Texas and moved to Cranberry Island, just off the coast of Maine, to follow her dream of opening a bed and breakfast on the island.  It's been hard work, but the Gray Whale Inn is making her happy.  She's made a lot of friends among the fellow residents on the island and met her fiancĂ© John.  Despite the odd murder she finds herself involved in, she doesn't regret the decision at all.

All has been calm for several months on Cranberry Island.  While Natalie is missing her niece Gwen, who is off finishing her college degree, she is finding that her mother-in-law-to-be is doing a great job helping around the inn in Gwen's place.  The biggest mystery on the island right now is the bones recently found by the old rectory, and one of Natalie's guests may know the identity of that particular murder victim.  With her marriage to John just a few months again, Natalie is quite content to enjoy the lull.

The peace is shattered, however, when Natalie goes out to pick some blueberries, however.  While boating back to the inn, she finds another boat drifting out on the waves.  Inside, she finds the body of a young man who has obviously been shot.  When suspicious falls on Gwen's boyfriend Adam, Natalie begins poking around to figure out who really killed this young man.  While the victim had a reputation of being up to no good, no one seems to know what he was actually up to.  Can Natalie figure it out?

I've been reading this series since the first book came out, and I always enjoy my time with Natalie and her friends.  The cast of characters is strong, and they continue to entertain.  Natalie herself is a capable and resourceful sleuth.  She has a nice support system with John and his mother as well as various friends on the island.  The new characters introduced here are just as strong, making me care about the outcome of the mystery.  Like Natalie, I truly missed Gwen, who has grown as a character in the last couple of books.

 While Natalie finds the body in the first chapter, I still felt the first quarter was a little slow as the story got going.  Once it was in full swing, however, it never slowed back down.  There were some nice clues and red herrings that kept me guessing until we hit the logical conclusion.

What surprised me, even after having read the previous books in the series, is how emotional certain aspects of the plot were.  Because the characters are so good, I was moved by how the events were impacting them more than I normally am when I read.  I really appreciated that depth.  One character at the end, especially, makes a difficult but correct choice, and I loved that.

Since Natalie owns a bed and breakfast, this book features some recipes in the back.  As always, they make my mouth water and sound easy enough even I could make them.  Some day, I really do need to try.

Those looking for a good mystery with some added depth will enjoy Death Runs Adrift.  It's the perfect combination of fun characters and an intriguing story to keep you turning the pages.

Want to book more visits with Natalie?  Make a reservation with any of the Gray Whale Inn Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I was sent an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review as part of this blog tour.  I will also note I found some timing issues in the ARC I hope were fixed before the book went to print, but nothing that affects the overall story.

As part of this blog tour, I have one copy of the print book to give away.  US address only, please.  The contest will run until 11:59 PM PDT on Thursday, May 15th.  All you need to do to enter is leave a comment telling me where you would most love to stay in a bed and breakfast.  The location can be real or imaginary.  Along with your comment, please leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

However, if you'd like additional chances to win, you can follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.  One additional entry for each place you follow me.  Please leave an additional comment for every way you followed me including your user name on that site.

On the 16th, I will use a random number generator to pick the winner and contact them via the e-mail they gave me.  Please get back to me quickly with your address so I can forward it on and you can get your prize.


  1. A B&B on the coast on Maine, close enough to things to get what I need, but not so close that there is no privacy.

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  3. Your review is great, Mark! I'd like to be spending a long weekend at The Gray Whale Inn!

    Linda Langford

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  5. Thanks for the lovely review, Mark... and it made my day to hear you felt like I did about the characters in this one.

  6. I enjoy the series and it has caused me to want to visit a B&B on the Maine coast.

  7. What a great review and intro to the story. I would love to return to Seaside OR someday and stay in a B&B on the Oregon Pacific Coast! Thanks!

  8. The story sounds very interesting. Would love to go to any bed and breakfast in Ireland.

  9. I love this series and thrilled for the new release. I would love to escape to a B&B anywhere right now. Peace, quiet & a great cozy sounds like the perfect way to relax. We had a house fire a few weeks ago and it has been extremely overwhelming and hectic. Would love to win & start rebuilding my home library. Thanks for the giveaway!

    stacieamelotte (at) yahoo (dot) com

  10. Other than spending a weekend at the Grey Whale Inn, I would love to stay in a B&B in Niagra on the Lake - such a charming location.

  11. This sounds like a great mystery! You had me at the setting is in Maine. I would love to stay at a B&B in Ireland. I visited there several years ago, and I want to return.

  12. Great review, Mark! I enjoyed it also, though I noted the same timing issues you did (I didn't mention them, hoping, like you, that they were fixed before the book went to print. Don't enter me in the contest (since I've already read the book, I'll give the chance to someone else!), but I'll answer the question: I'd really love to stay in a B&B on the Isle of Skye. I visited there about 25 years ago, and fell in love with it.

  13. Thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting. Your B&B suggestions all sound fabulous. Maybe we can plan a group trip together to visit all of them with plenty of time to read along the way, of course.

    The winner of the book is Elizabeth Meyette, who was commenter #12. Congrats!