cover image Bluefin Blues

Bluefin Blues

Paul Kemprecos. St. Martin's Press, $20.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-312-16787-5

Cape Cod fisherman and occasional PI Aristotle ""Soc"" Socarides (Cool Blue Tomb, etc.) takes on international criminals as Shamus winner Kemprecos smoothly navigates a sea full of red herrings and other fish. A Japanese fish buyer is found dead on a stolen tuna boat, a harpoon driven through his chest. The victim's wealthy grandfather hires Soc by videophone hookup from Japan. Soon Soc learns that his client is not a grieving gramps but a godfather of Japanese organized crime. Although much evidence points to gruff Charlie Snow (on whose tuna boat the corpse was found), Soc can't believe that the flinty old fisherman is a killer. Perhaps someone tried to frame him. Fishing rival Frank Powell seems fond of Charlie's beautiful young wife, and dozens of other Cape fisherman believe Charlie's opposition to fish-spotting planes threatens their livelihood. Soc's role grows intensely personal when his friend Sally is reported lost in a mysterious plane crash at sea. Kemprecos keeps the action moving smartly and serves up crisp characterizations, especially that of the cop from Tokyo who tries to sound like a New Yorker. The book is also a treasure chest of lore about big fish and the New Englanders who catch them. (Nov.)