LOWCOUNTRY: That portion of the Southeastern United States characterized by low country, generally flat—whether barrier island, tidal marsh, tidal river valleys, swamps, piney forests, or great cities like Charleston and Savannah.
CRIME: An act, forbidden by a public law, that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law.
These four novellas capture the unique aspects of the Lowcountry with stories incorporating Charleston high life and Savannah low life, island vacations and life on a boat. You’ll be treated to thieves doing good and rapscallions doing bad, loves won and loves lost, family relations providing wonderful support and life after divorce.
Each novella can be read in a single hour to hour-and-a-half sitting or enjoyed at a more leisurely pace, stopping at white space along the way. Within the broad range of the crime genre, these tales fit “north of cozy” and “south of noir.”
“Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming” by Tina Whittle is a prequel to her Tai Randolph Mysteries. Tai is accustomed to murder and mayhem . . . of the fictional variety. As a tour guide in Savannah, Georgia, she’s learned the tips are better when she seasons her stories with a little blood here, a little depravity there. She’s less experienced in real life criminality, however, preferring to spend her days sleeping late and her nights hitting the bars. But when she gets the news that her trouble-making cousin has keeled over while running a marathon, Tai finds herself in a hot mess of treachery and dirty dealings. Worst of all, the clues lead her straight into the moonshine-soaked territory of the most infamous smuggler in Chatham County—her Uncle Boone.
The novella is set in Savannah several years prior to the inheritance of her Atlanta gun shop and her first encounter with security agent Trey Seaver, who ultimately becomes her partner in both romance and crime solving. For readers familiar with the rest of Tai’s adventures, this story is a chance to watch her develop her sleuthing chops. For those meeting Tai for the first time...welcome to her slightly reckless, somewhat hungover, not-quite-respectable world.
In “Last Heist” by Polly Iyer, Paul Swan travels the world buying exotic automobiles for wealthy clients, but underneath his believable cover is a first-class, never-been-caught diamond thief.
When he sees a picture in the Charleston newspaper of a magnificent diamond necklace on the wife of a visiting South American strongman, he can’t resist the temptation to steal it. Paul doesn’t anticipate what he finds in the hotel room’s safe besides the jewels. Now he has to figure out how to stop a political catastrophe without exposing himself as the thief who stole the diamonds, and he has three people complicating his effort: a sexy TV reporter angling for a story, a suspicious cop eager for an arrest, and a rogue mercenary bent on ending his life.
“Blue Nude,” by Jonathan M. Bryant introduces us to Brad Sharpe, who has problems. Not just the problems you would expect resulting from traumatic injury and a destructive divorce. His ex-wife has gone missing and a priceless Picasso has been stolen. The cops have pegged Brad as a person of interest in both cases. Worse, a violent sociopath might want Brad dead. Only with the help of friends and his knowledge of the Georgia Lowcountry can Brad fight to clear his name and resolve the case of the Blue Nude.
In “Low Tide at Tybee,” James M. Jackson brings three of his Seamus McCree series characters (Seamus, his darts-throwing mother, and his now six-year-old granddaughter, Megan) to Tybee Island, Georgia to vacation and escape winter up north. Megan spots a thief going through their beach bags, after which their vacation unravels with a series of twists and turns that will leave you guessing until the end, trying to figure out who done what.