I read Plum Island to satisfy the challenge to read a book my mom liked for the 2015 Reading Challenge. Considering she heard this book as an audio book some 12 years ago, it’s impressive she remembered it. I’m just grateful she didn’t pick her favorite author, James Michener. 😉
Plum Island is definitely a mystery/thriller. We start off by meeting the main character, John Corey. He’s a New York City homicide detective who’s currently convalescing at his Uncle Henry’s home on Long Island. He’d been shot 3 times in the line of duty and was waiting to see if he could continue working or not.
While kicking back on the house’s deck, watching the boaters, his friend Sylvester Maxwell, more commonly known as Max, came to him. Max was the area’s chief of police and he needed John’s help. A couple had been murdered and Max didn’t know too much about homicide. The area he was in charge of was small and murder just wasn’t done. So John decided he was bored and tagged along to help him.
The couple turned out to be scientists who worked on the famed Plum Island where an animal biological research site that was also rumored to be a site for biological warfare research. They also happened to be two people John had become friends with while he was staying on Long Island.
In looking into Tom and Judy Gordon’s past, workplace and friendships, John eventually decided things weren’t all that they appeared. They had done odd things like buy useless land and had a high speed boat they were barely able to handle.
We also meet Detective Elizabeth Penrose, a Suffolk County homicide detective. She was a very strict, by-the-book kind of detective. It was her first big case and she wanted to prove that she could do it, even if her perfect body (of course) seemed to say otherwise. She actually disappears off the radar, so to speak, partway into the book, but reappears near the end.
John likes coming across as a bumbling idiot. He loves to crack stupid wise ass remarks at anything that might be important to the case. As the book progresses, all 574 pages of it in the paperback version, it gets a little old. However, what’s interesting is the author had other characters in the book call him on it.
At the beginning of the book, there were a few point of view changes that caused me to stumble. It’s mainly written from John’s point of view in 1st person, but it would periodically slip into 3rd person. The author apparently decided the reader needed some important bit of information and slipped it in. It wouldn’t be so bad (I stopped noticing later on in the book) if the POV changes hadn’t happened in the same paragraph for a single sentence. A lot of times, I’d have to go back and re-read that section and see what just happened. Not good when you’re trying to get a reader hooked into a book.
I did laugh out loud several times and found the book amusing. As I neared the end, I couldn’t put it down because I was excited to find out what would happen. I honestly did not see the end coming. That’s fascinating in the world of mystery/thrillers because I’ve long been able to figure it out.
I would definitely recommend this book to others. The author has a fun way of writing and John Corey is quite the character. It won’t make it on to my shelves, but I’ll remember this book long after I’m done with it.