by Chris Knopf

The Permanent Press, $28.00, 304 pages

Caught in the middle of a storm, Sam Acquillo and his girlfriend Amanda, seek harbor in a nearly-deserted island in the Long Island Sound. Stuck waiting for parts with inhospitable locals, they pass their time relaxing on the boat until the suspicious death of a resident interrupts their plans. Curious, Sam starts asking questions and starts unraveling secrets that endanger everyone.

Black Swan is the fifth installment of the Sam Acquillo series and it is a novel which requires the reader to suspend belief in several areas.  It’s easy to buy into the main characters being stuck on an island which has closed for the winter and is inhabited by quirky locals (who are all either eccentric, paranoid or hostile), but it is harder to believe that the police would allow Sam to help investigate due to his credentials of once having been a defendant in a murder trial. The characters also interact with each other in odd ways that don’t feel true to life. The mystery is interesting and well written, however, and the pacing of the book is good throughout. Fans of mysteries will likely enjoy this novel as a light summer read.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern