"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

26 December 2014

2014 Book Review #43: North of Boston

Ah.....there's nothing like a good mystery with a moral dilemna/environmental issue twist.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was the first time I'd even read anything by this author, who happens to live just south of downtown Boston in a section we have been through several times  This book immediately caught my eye at the town library because of the title matching where my oldest daughter goes to college. 

However, the title is deceiving!! Yes, most of it is set in Boston.  Yes, much of the climax is set north of Boston. But not in the exact setting that I thought it was going to be.....not in the "north shore".  But further north!!  As in Labrador and Newfoundland!!  I LOVED this play on words!


Most of this story is set in Boston (my all-time fave city!) and the climax takes places much further north of Boston, off the coast of northern Canada in Labrador/the Arctic Ocean.

Pirio Kasparov, the daughter of Russian immigrants, works for the perfume company her parents started back when she was a young girl.  Her mother died when she was just 10 years old but she remembers vacationing with her mother in Hopewell, up in Labrador.  Pirio helps Maureen, her dad's wife and business partner, at the company. Her dad, Milosa, is a tough Russian man, who has never been emotionally close with Pirio yet they have a good relationship.  Pirio is a tough-talking, south-Boston girl who has just survived being in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean for 4 hours.  The fishing vessel that she was on was hit by a larger ship, and her good friend Ned perished.  It is a miracle that Pirio survived and now the Navy wants to run some tests on her body to find out why and how she was able to survive in water that most people would die/drown in.  It is autumn so the water isn't any warmer than low 40's.

The tragic death of her friend leaves her shaken.  She feels like she must take care of Noah, Ned's son.  Noah's mom is Thomasina, an alcoholic and very rich.  Pirio and she met at boarding school years ago and Pirio has been looking after Thomasina ever since.  Pirio begins to suspect that the fishing boat accident was actually intentional.  Someone wanted her and her friend Ned dead!

Her cynical Russian father also thinks something is wrong and wonders if Ned was murdered.

Pirio begins to search for clues in Boston's bars and fishing docks.  Soon she is drawn into a relationship with a former "bad boy" boyfriend...a very mentally unstable person who is now married.  She also befriends an insurance investigator named Russell Parnell who is not exactly what he claims to be.  Both men are trying to earn her trust.

Soon her search leads her to danger......for her self, her friends, and family.

Her strongest test will soon become reality:  she will need to learn to trust herself up in the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean....and she will help to solve a crime of major proportions.  But will anyone believe her??


This book was action-packed right from the start.

The main themes are about life, love, and the struggle to survive despite the odds.  The underlying theme is about the fishing industry and the hazards humans can be to whales and the ocean environment. The book also touches on the topics of single motherhood, and alcoholism.  I found it fascinating that the author could make these characters come alive on the page.

The main characters are believable and the author does a fantastic job with character development and description of the setting.  Because I am so often in Boston, I found it fun to read about favorite places in the city....favorite areas of that great city on the coast.

The book had just the right amount of suspense and mystery without being bogged down in details.

I found myself cheering and crying for Pirio, Thomasina, Noah, and Milosa.  The ending was amazing and not sappy at all.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.

And I'm hoping the author will continue to write books set in Boston!


Melanie said...

Thank you for the review. It does sound very suspenseful and a good read. I'll have to put this book on my list to look out for.

Melanie Lopata said...

Oooh I love mysteries! This is another for my list :)

Susanne said...

Might have to look for this one too!