The best laid plans often go wrong and it is clear from the beginning of this enjoyable cozy style novel that is exactly what is happening. What had been planned as a working vacation for Michael Tanner and his wife Mary Whitney to Lake Superior and The Apostle Islands is morphing into Mary Whitney making a solo trip and waiting for Michael to join her later.  Michael’s busy schedule has taken a big hit and he has to stay behind in Seattle to deal with an important client. He would prefer for Mary to stay behind and wait for him but Mary isn’t about to wait.


Mary feels compelled to return to Lake Superior despite the earlier attempt on her life there. Something about the place has an unexplainable allure for her and she feels a need, almost bordering on obsession, to get back there. Her plan is to pick up their chartered sailboat and have some quiet time by herself before Michael joins her later. Mary isn’t worried about anything or anyone and that includes her worthless husband Edward Tobias who she is convinced poses no threat at all to her.


Mary is especially keen to explore Devils Island. Ignoring the concern expressed by her husband Michael, she makes the trip to Lake Superior. After claiming the boat, she not only makes a new friend and reacquaints herself with an old enemy in a battle for survival in the frigid waters of Lake Superior.


This enjoyable cozy style read is the latest in the series written by talented author Carl Brookins (numerous anthologies, the Sean Sean private investigator series, Jack Marston series, etc) and is another good one. Primarily oriented around Mary Whitney, the book is highly atmospheric and builds suspense at a slow steady pace. That pace is finally kicked into high gear the last seventy pages or so when Mary makes an amazingly obvious mistake for any seasoned mystery reader equivalent to meeting somebody at the abandoned warehouse at two in the morning unarmed.


Despite that plot point, the overall book is a good one. While there isn’t any real character development in this mystery, none is really expected in this series at this point. Both Michael and Marry are well established characters at this point in the series and aren’t going to change. What is provided in this story is a lot of history and information on the Lake Superior area as well as plenty of action, mystery, and suspense. Author Carl Brookins of the group collectively known as the “Minnesota Crime Wave” is well known for providing very good reads in his many works and “Devils Island” is no exception.



Devils Island

Carl Brookins

Echelon Press, LLC

ISBN# 1-59080-643-3

December 2009


240 Pages




Material provided directly by the author in exchange for my objective review.



Kevin R. Tipple © 2010


“By The Light Of The Moon”


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