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Paul Barra’s thriller starts off with a dead body on a boat and keeps going. The setting off the Maine coast made it a good read for my hot weekend and I was impressed by the writers genuine knowledge of sea craft, horses and horse racing. The main character, Tagliabue, is a good mix of smarts and toughness, and his contacts along seedy side streets of that waterfront town are perfectly described and exactly as you’d want them to be. I’ve read a couple of other stories by this writer and he tends to take the high road in his weaving his stories together. His novels are thoughtful and sophisticated. They keep you interested and in the chase. And Paul himself is every bit as interesting. He’s a former Naval officer—he earned the Bronze Star with Combat V and Combat Action ribbon. He once managed a bar in Hawaii, raised alpacas, was a chemistry teacher, taught a prison writing class, has published several novels, and is included in the Mystery Writer’s of America anthology When a Stranger Comes to Town. For some odd reason, he’s taken me under his wing as a writing pal. He’s a regular on the porch at Pineapple Hill. And I’m grateful.