Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Book Review: Against the Claw by Shari Randall (Lobster Shack Mysteries #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters, charming setting
Cons: Pacing in the first half
The Bottom Line:
Body in the bay
No one seems to know victim
Charming, fun filled book

Who Killed the Girl with the Pitchfork Tattoo?

I refuse to believe that summer is almost over.  How can that be possible?  So it was a pleasure to return to Mystic Bay, Connecticut, in Against the Claw.  The town, which is a huge vacation location, is just getting ready for the Fourth of July as the book opens.

Allie Larkin, normally a dancer, is still working for her Aunt Gully’s Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack while her broken ankle heals.  Since her aunt just opened this new business a few months ago, all help is appreciated, especially as they get ready for the crush of tourists coming for the holiday weekend.

However, it’s not all partying in town.  While Allie is out helping a friend on her lobster boat, the two find a dead body.  No one seems to know who she was; her biggest identifying mark being a pitchfork tattoo.  Who was she?  Why was she out in the middle of the bay?

Honestly, I thought I knew one plot point early on in this book, but instead the story surprised me at every point along the way.  I did think the book was wandering a little at times, especially in the first half.  It does become more focused in the second half as things begin to really pick up.  Even so, I hadn’t realized the importance of some events in the book until the climax, when Allie is able to bring things into perfect focus.

I enjoyed meeting Allie and the rest of the main cast in the first book, and I was just as happy with the time spent with them here.  They are a fun bunch, and reading about them is a pleasure.  The characters we meet in this book are just as much fun to spend time with.  Yet one of them is a killer.  And the fact that I liked them so much made it harder to figure out what was going on.

Then there’s the location.  I mentioned I’m holding on to summer as long as I can, right?  Mystic Bay is that perfect resort town you visit and want to move to.  There are ice cream stands, a local theater (where Allie is rehearsing for a show), a beach that Allie can walk to, and, of course, the lobster shack.

Speaking of which, Aunt Gully was persuaded to share her secret lobster sauce recipe this time around.  You’ll find it in the back of the book.

Against the Claw is a charming sequel filled with fun characters and delicious sounding food.  Despite the murder rate, I’m ready to move to Mystic Bay.


  1. We'd love to have you move to Mystic Bay, Mark! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. Thank you, thank you for reviewing!

  2. This is a delightful book that had me guessing who the villain was until the very end.


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