Friday, January 5, 2018

Murder on the Brewster Flats, book 12 in the LeGarde Mystery series. Aaron Paul Lazar



Yippee! It was the holidays and I had a chance to be an early reader for prolific author, Aaron Lazar's latest Gus LeGarde Mystery! This is a favorite series for me, but, once again, you can't be sure what Aaron will be doing within any given book!

Because this time Gus and his wife are leaving for a vacation, so we don't have too much time with the rest of his family, which I missed... On the other hand, Camille, his second wife, exhibits great research and investigative skills, as well as considerable compassion... She makes a wonderful partner for our amateur detective, Gus, who always seems to find a mystery wherever he goes...

Wow, this a great book!


This photo of Paine's Creek is courtesy of TripAdvisor


“I feel guilty,” Camille said, taking in the azure horizon where the sea met the sky. “I mean, how can we leave them alone for a whole month?” 
I opened my door to let the sea breeze flow into the car. “They’ll be fine, honey.” I hated to admit it, but I had the same niggling fears about leaving my family at home in upstate New York, because in my life, if something could go wrong, it would. 
“How can you be so sure?” She lifted worried brown eyes to mine. 
“I’m sure, because Siegfried is there. He’s our rock. He knows the animals and the farm. Your mother’s there. She’ll watch Shelby like a hawk. And with Mrs. Pierce in charge of the house, it’ll be running like a clock.” 
Her shoulders relaxed—just a bit—and she opened her door. “Okay. I know you’re right. And besides, we really need this.” “For sure.” The sign on the Paines Creek Beach said a sticker was required between the hours of nine and four, but our dash clock had just clicked over to a minute past four, so we were


This photo of Paine's Creek is courtesy of TripAdvisor


safe. We’d been driving on the New York State thruway and the Mass Pike for eleven hours and all I wanted to do was kick off my boat shoes and feel the soft sand beneath my toes. Or maybe flop into the cool sea fully clothed. At this point, anything other than sitting in the car sounded good. I didn’t want to face why we needed to get away. Not yet. “Looks like the tide’s going out. See the creek running down there?” I pointed down to the wide, fast shining ribbon of water running ten feet below the parking lot. 
She reached down to unbuckle her sandals. “Let’s go.” I locked the car and pocketed my keys, feeling excited about the prospect of a whole month on Cape Cod. When I’d researched the Cape’s various regions, the little town of Brewster had appealed to me, with its quaint stores and seven beaches on the calm bay side of the peninsula. In the far distance, the sea glistened deep blue with cresting whitecaps. But for what seemed like miles, the low tide flats shone in the late afternoon sun, butterscotch sand mingled with streams of water and tide pools glistened. A fresh ocean breeze tasted tangy on my lips, and I inhaled the salt air with a sense of unparalleled delight, trying to ignore the heavy feeling in my heart. 
We walked barefoot toward the sea, following a stretch of sand flanking the curvy twists and turns of Paines Creek. The water seemed to flow with urgency toward the open ocean, as if late for a date with the setting sun. “Let’s walk out there,” Camille said, climbing on the big boulders of a jetty that stretched along the shore. 
I followed her lead, making my way over the rocks. I landed with a satisfying thump on the wet sand. Emerald green sea grass—still damp from its recent hours under water—waved in the breeze, undulating with a rhythm in concert with the clouds racing overhead. I laced fingers with my wife. “I can’t believe we’re here.” 
She smiled and began to run across a wet bar of sand that stretched like a rounded Milano cookie pointing toward the horizon. “Come on.” 
I ran with her, letting the physical pleasure wash through me. It would be a great month. I’d get my book on Ella Fitzgerald and her jazz-era contemporaries finished—which would satisfy my no-longer-patient publisher—and I’d be able to check that job off the list. 
~~~

Murder on the Brewster Flats
LeGarde Mystery Series

By Aaron Paul Lazar


Gus and Camille choose to visit Cape Cod, which happens to be the setting for his Paine's Creek series, a wonderful romantic series! I enjoyed those but I love Aaron's mysteries... especially, how he always seems to find some local mystery, or two, to solve! LOL This time on Brewster Flats!



And, of course, it takes Gus' involvement to solve those mysteries! Because the very first thing the couple wanted to do was get on the beach. They started looking for seashells--doesn't everybody? It was there that they came across a man roaming and poking through the garbage...His name was Albert and lived in a nearby home by the sea that had been built centuries ago... Learning that he was in fear of losing his home, Gus and Camille were immediately sympathetic. But they never would have guessed that they would be right in the middle of helping to save Albert's home...

And by the next day, as they once again were walking on the beach and saw Albert, who was this time carrying a metal detector, they learned that he was looking for lost treasure from the man who had built his home...

“Morning, Albert.” “Fine day for prospecting.” 
“I’ll say. What’re you looking for?”
“Treasure,” he said solemnly. 
“I see.” I wasn’t sure if he meant lost pocket change or pirate’s gold. “Any luck today?” 
In one hand he carried an empty bucket. “Nope. Been looking for forty years. Can’t give up.” 
“Are you searching for a particular treasure?” 
He narrowed his eyes. “Guess I can tell you, since you’re an outta towner.” He stopped for a moment and sighed. “I’m looking for the treasure that was stole from my great, great, great granddaddy.” 
“Wow. The one who built your house?” 
“Yes sir. Mr. Zebediah Cook himself.” A far off look glazed his eyes. 
“Cool.” I waited for a few seconds, but when he didn’t say more, I started to walk away. “Well, good luck today.” 
He glanced at his watch. “Almost time to head in. You don’t wanna get caught when the tide comes in. Folks get stuck out here all the time. Have to swim in with their fancy iPhones held high in the air.” 
I automatically patted my pocket where my iPhone six plus resided. “Er, thanks. I’ll turn back then.” 
“See you tomorrow.” He continued to play the device back and forth over the sand.
~~~

With a takeoff of the old theme of the Hatfield and McCoy long-time feud, Lazar has pitted Albert's ancestor, Zebediah Cook who was a minister who had brought all kinds of religious artifacts, along with his new bride, to start a new home and church...But before they were able to land, a ship full of pirates took over and destroyed the incoming ship...Zeb and his wife made it overboard, but the pirates weren't willing to let it go and punished Zebediah by raping and killing his wife... 

Against the murdering pirate's kin!

But nobody was sure whether the treasure had gone down with the ship or whether the pirates had succeeded in taking it as well... They were a well known group who had stolen from many ships traveling in the area of the Cape at that time...  Albert was still not willing to give up looking and hoping that they could find at least some of the treasure so that they could keep their home...

And the pirate's family, the McNabbs, still lived there, owning the largest home in the town... Albert was convinced they really had the treasure hidden, so that when a young couple from the two families fell in love, Albert's hate grew stronger, since his granddaughter had become pregnant... and then deserted... at least that's what everybody assumed...

Not only is the research and investigation a fun activity, as Camille, Gus and others within the family and community start pulling out old property records, papers and church records, there ultimately is a murder, which was part of what the investigation had led to...

There are intriguing, exciting times ahead for readers, surprising, suspenseful and, in the end, a climax that could not have been anticipated!
But there is also some scary stuff happening where lives were placed in danger as the villain continued to destroy and try to prevent what was happening.

You know, I don't get to read Lazar's books as often as I would like, but in my mind, intuitively going over all the ones I have read, this seemed to be the best of the best in my opinion... It's standalone and can easily be read even if you haven't been reading the LeGarde servies... If I were to recommend one book from this author, this one would be the first! You can pre-order now and grab another book free: (https://aaronlazar.blogspot.com/2018/01/new-gus-legarde-mystery.html).

One side story which I loved was that Gus met Jack, a fellow musician, who happened to have need to replace the pianist in time for an upcoming concert! The actual meeting was when Gus was badly hurt and needed help which Jack and his wife provided... Gus was up for the event, with some practice, if he could, recover from the injuries he kept receiving, and find the time between all the work he was doing to help find the treasure! 

Jack was a violinist, a teacher, and also made beautiful hand-make violins. He was celebrating the opening of his new shop, Sea Strings, and announced that he planned to have further concerts by the sea. I hope we get to attend some of those in future books!  Gus and Jack started with Danse Macabre! Sit back and sink into the music, just like you will when you read...Murder on the Brewster Flats!