Thursday, November 11, 2021

Book Review: Tropical Depression by C. Michele Dorsey (Sabrina Salter Mysteries #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery; wonderful characters
Cons: A bit of Sabrina’s behavior; more than usual typos
The Bottom Line:
Hunting for killer
With hurricane approaching
Glad Sabrina’s back

Racing a Hurricane to Solve a Murder

It’s been years since we last spent time with Sabrina Salter, the main character in C. Michele Dorsey’s mystery series.  I had given up on getting a third adventure with her until Tropical Depression popped up.  As a fan, I jumped on it as soon as I could.

This series is set in the Caribbean on the island of St. John.  Sabrina and her business partner, Henry, run a business managing ten vacation rentals on the island.  This continues to provide us with fodder for mysteries.

It has been five years since I read the first two books in the series, so the characters and their relationships weren’t fresh in my mind.  That background quickly came back to me as I read.  The story does build on the characters and relationships from the first two books, but clearly enough is given that you can jump in here.  Still, all three are so good, you might as well read them all.

As the book opens, Sabrina has just returned to the island after three weeks in New England.  However, the vacation hasn’t turned out to be nearly as restful as she imagined it would be since her meeting with her long estrange grandmother didn’t go well, and she was betrayed by her boyfriend.

Things don’t get better when she arrives home.  One of the seasonal employees that Sabrina and Henry hired before Sabrina left is murdered the day she gets back on the island, and the police are looking at Henry as the killer.  After all, his machete was the murder weapon.  As Sabrina jumps in to figure out what really happened, she is confronted with the issues she thought she’d left behind when her vacation was over.  Will those issues keep her from finding the killer?

What I haven’t mentioned yet is the book is set in September 2017.  Since the last book in the series came out in 2016, that certainly works timeline wise.  This is right before two hurricanes devastated the island, and the action of the book takes place as Hurricane Irma is on her way.  While it is just in the background as the book begins, it adds to the suspense as we reach the climax.

The mystery was good.  There were plenty of twists to keep me engaged, and the solution was perfectly logical.  Everything else going on in the book worked together to make the plot even stronger.  This is definitely not a case where the sub-plots detracted from the overall mystery, and it’s hard to picture the book working nearly as well with any of them taken out.

As much as I remember liking Sabrina from the first two books, I’ll admit that some of her behavior bothered me here.  I could sort of understand it, but seriously, show a little maturity.  Then again, that is part of what she is dealing with here, so it gave us a chance to see some development for her.  That part of the story might have been a little too easily resolved, but that is a minor complaint.  The rest of the characters were strong as well.  Overall, I loved spending time with everyone in the book.

We get the story from the points of view of several of the characters.  This works well to let us get to know them better and fill us in on parts of the action.  The switch is always handled well, so we are never confused whose head we are in.

Unfortunately, the book had more than its fair share of typos.  Mind you, the book is very readable.  I don’t regret reading it for a minute, so this is worth noting only in passing.

This book is more of a traditional mystery than the cozies I typically read.  As such, there is a smattering of foul language here.  It’s kept to a minimum again, so as long as you know going in, you’ll be fine.

It was wonderful to see Sabrina again in Tropical Depression.  I’m hoping we get more adventures with her since I’m anxious to find out just what happens to her in the aftermath of this book.

Enjoy the rest of the Sabrina Salter Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


  1. I agree. The author said there is definitely a book #4.

  2. Congratulations, Michele!


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