Bart and the Compass Rose|
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 300pp, 2014, $10.02 pb, 6.27 Kindle
Being a Maine-a (mostly) I don't get south of Boston very often and even then the trip usually involves family matters on the Cape, but I am certainly aware of the rather more hospitable ocean play-ground on Massachusetts' southern coast and am more determined than ever to visit after reading Saulnier's evocative descriptions of the islands and the waters of that historic part New England.
It is summer and boating and beaching is full swing on Block Island. The island is busy with people having fun. Our hero Nate, when he isn't on his lobster boat Legacy fishing, is keeping a sharp eye on the summer influx of arriving tourists and workers of the female persuasion. It's beach party season. And then he comes across an abandoned boat...which belongs to his friend, Lou. The plot has thickened.
According to an island myth...a pirate's treasure (in the form of gold bars) is buried in the ocean, somewhere near the island. Lou was hot on the trail having unearthed a single bar which fired the flames of curiosity about the possibility that the old story was not just a myth. When that bar turns up our young heroes begin digging...figuratively and literally. Bad guys are also attracted in the form of rumored gang members...real bad guys...from that inappropriately named city of Providence, Rhode Island.
In pursuit of the myth and/or the actual treasure Nate and his pals have a salty adventure...prowling through dusty records in the state capital, Providence; being caught on the high seas in an oncoming hurricane, all the while being pursued by bad guys who have also heard the story of the sinking of the ship full of gold bars.
Descriptions of the island's beaches, cove, and cliffs glow with the author's appreciation. Actions packed boat chases are well enough described to put you on the vessel. When the mystery takes our heroes (led by a young but highly skilled island boat man) to that murky city of Providence, the menace is palpable.
Author, Saulnier, clearly has a great appreciation of the area and boats and boat handling as well as coastal weather. The book puts you on this lovely island in this lovely part of the world. Solving the mystery is an extra treat.