High Season by John Loomis

Title: High Season
Author: Jon Loomis
Narrator: Charles Bice
Series: N/A
Publisher: Iambik Audio
Release Date: 4/21/2011
Length: 7 hours, 38 minutes
Format: Digital Audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Digital Audiobook
Rating: 3/5

Frank Coffin had been a well-respected Baltimore homicide detective. But when he started having panic attacks at crime scenes, he was forced to go home to Cape Cod, where the worst crimes were usually break-ins, bicycle thefts, and domestic disputes. That is, until a vacationing televangelist turns up dead on the beach wearing a wig, a muumuu, and one size-twelve pump. Not to mention the raspberry-colored taffeta scarf strangling his neck.

Frank and his partner, Officer Lola Winters, begin checking out the drag bars and isolated trysting spots the reverend might have frequented. However, when the body count starts to rise, it becomes alarmingly clear that a killer with an agenda is at large in Provincetown. And Coffin’s fears – like unwelcome summer tourists – have returned in full force….

I had some Audible dollars from a recent promotion that were expiring, so decided to pick up this book. I’ve never been to Provincetown, but the description was vivid enough that I had no problem “seeing” the action unfold, including the many indoor episodes. The characters (with one exception) were well-done, without being over-the-top, especially Lola, and Coffin’s anti-social friend Kowalski. I was surprised by the identity of the killer, but it was a reasonable choice, rather than one of those “huh, where did THAT person come from?” as sometimes happens. So, all things considered, it was a pretty good listen … with two “drawbacks” for me.

1) Coffin’s girlfriend does the “my biological clock is ticking, and now I’m hell bent on having a baby” thing partway through, announcing that she refuses any more birth control (presumably including condoms), which I found a bit offputting as a plot device. By the time she was (briefly) in danger late in the book, I was rooting she wouldn’t make it – not just because of the fertility bit, but that I felt she’d become unlikeable in general by then.

2) The explicit sex scenes – erotic they are not. There are only a couple, but they read almost like a selection from “famous bad sex” in literature. Not that they ruin the book, but a bit of fast-forwarding won’t go amiss when the first anatomical term appears.

So … would I recommend this one? Yes, bearing in mind the above points. Coffin and Lola are an incredibly likeable duo, with the narrator doing a fairly decent job differentiating the characters.

-John

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