Conch Town Girl by Daniel Barrett (Review)

Daniel J. Barrett's Conch Town Girl (Black Opal Books, Nov. 1, 2014) is the first in a Bloodline-style series. The family is Grandma Tillie, Grandaughter Julie, and her love-interest Joe. Julie's father makes a brief appearance.

There is a mystery from Grandma Tillie's past that intrudes on the character's lives when someone runs Tillie off the road and she ends up in the hospital. But the real story here is the story of the family: how the sins of the guilty are visited on the innocent, how the wrongdoing of the past comes to haunt the present.

For readers not familiar with the keys, the books is chock-full of information about drug smuggling, real estate prices, and real Conch people. (Barrett lives in Troy, NY, but states that he read over 1,500 books in preparation for writing this novel.) I wished there was more about what it meant to be a Conch, as that was the part that intrigued me the most.

There is also a love story between Julie and Joe, but I found the love story strangely lacking in feeling.

All the characters are appealing and the mystery plot is sound. But the story is told in a cold and distanced way that was very off-putting. I have hopes that the next books in the series, featuring the same characters, will be better. It's called  Can't Sing or Dance (May 2, 2015). 


Full Disclosure: Conch Town Girl is published by Black Opal Books, which is also the publisher of my YA Historical Mystery Novel, The Saffron Crocus.