Reviewed by Erin McKibbin

October storms out on the Atlantic Ocean near the Northern states can be catastrophic to say the least. First, they come out of nowhere, making the last weather report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about as useful as a bag of mismatched shoes. Second, even the smallest of storms can whip up the wind to 40 knots and the gusts to 60. But, Sam Acquillo, his girlfriend Amanda, and his dog Eddie would say that the meanest hurricane of the Atlantic coast’s season is nothing compared to the wrath of God, man, and beast at the Black Swan inn on Fishers Island Sound off the coast of New York!

A former engineer, Sam embraced a life of hard work after a political upheaval cost him his career and everything he ever worked for. Going with the flow, his current profession was to deliver a boat to his deep pocketed benefactor. A sudden storm and a broken rudder sweep Sam and Amanda onto the most xenophobic, blue-blood island in the free world where they are caught up in the intrigue of the oddball inn owners and the off season guests: a team of executives from a software industry giant. When one of these executives turns up dead by hanging in the shower, Sam isn’t sure if it’s empathy for the innkeeper’s daughter, the impending hurricane, or his love of a good mystery that keeps him on the island long after the boat is fixed and his safety is non-existent.

Chris Knopf weaves an intriguing tale of adventure and mystery with a protagonist that is a cross between Steven Seagal, Sam Spade, and side characters so kooky that they would be at home in an Agatha Christie novel. Black Swan is the 5th installment in Knopf’s Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery series, a series that has become widely popular in the “UK, Canada, Japan, Spain, Turkey, Italy, and China” (excerpt from the inside cover). One of the books in the series was a “Recommended Summer Reading” in the New York Times Book Review while another won the 2008 Ben Franklin Award for Best Mystery.

Rating: 4/5

Erin fell in love with the written word as a small child and subsequently spent most of her life happily devouring literature. She works as a freelance news, marketing, and technical writer as well as a full-time researcher/investigator in the sign industry. Erin lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio enjoying the beauty of life with her children and grandchildren.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Permanent Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.