Collateral Damage opens with the shooting of a newlywed the day after his wedding. He was jogging along a beach on Longboat Key, Florida when he was shot in the chest by a high caliber rifle while his new wife waited for him in their hotel room.
Later that night, Longboat Key resident Matt Royal and his long-time friend Logan Hamilton took Mattís boat out to Sister Keys to do a bit of fishing. While out there, they saw the Dulcimer, a dinner cruise boat, go dark and come to a jarring halt on a sandbar. Matt contacted the Coast Guard. In the meantime, the men managed to rescue three people who had ended up in the water.
The only casualty was the captain of the ship. Although it was first believed he died of a heart attack or stroke, it was later discovered he died from a broken neck. The next day after the grounding, Matt found out two more people had been murdered and thrown overboard.
Six weeks later, after the cases started to grow cold, the father of the young man who was killed on the beach came to see if Matt could help him discover who murdered his son. Come to find out, the father had served with Matt in Vietnam. Matt agreed to help him search for the murderer. Bill Lester, Chief of Police in Longboat Key, and J.D. Duncan, a detective on the force, welcomed his help.
Mattís investigation soon led him to his former Marine Corps comrades, and dangerous Laotian drug traffickers who would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. With his own life in danger he enlisted the help of his friends Logan Hamilton and Jock Algren in a case that proved to reach farther into the past than anyone expected, and threatened to turn his island paradise into anything but that.
Collateral Damage is the sixth Matt Royal mystery written by H. Terrell Griffin. The series smoothly blends a laid-back beach-bum lifestyle with high powered murder mysteries that keep readers enthralled and reviewers comparing Griffin to John D. MacDonald.
There is no shortage of adventure, intrigue, and the possibility of romance as the story unfolds in the hot Florida sun. Each book has increased in depth and pacing; and the adventures are a fantastic, fast-paced joy to read. The character-driven mystery series has gained Griffin the respect of his loyal fan base who is no doubt eagerly awaiting the next installment.
This series is a must-read for those who love a good mystery. You donít have to start at the beginning because each book stands on its own, but it might be fun to do so.
A special thank you goes to Oceanview Publishing for providing a complimentary copy for our review. If you are interested in purchasing any of the Matt Royal novels, they are available through Amazon.com.