I'm struck by how accessible Jericho Cay is given that it's the eleventh Bay Tanner book and this is my first encounter with the series. Obviously, a whole lotta stuff has happened in the previous books and that stuff has wrecked all manner of tumultuous change on Bay's life. In this episode, she is still adjusting to married life with her former brother-in-law now husband; and getting her long-lost sister (who is mentally ill) settled on the family plantation. Oh, and there's the matter of the hurricane that recently blew through the area.
Into this chaos comes a new client, Winston Wolfe, a bestselling true crime writer. (Why is it that fictional writers are always "bestsellers" or at least, able to live comfortably off their writing? Or, as in Californication, former best sellers who are still living large on their royalties?)
Wolfe's latest project is Tyler Bell, a reclusive millionaire who vanished several years before, leaving an unclaimed estate and a dead housekeeper at his private island, Jericho Cay. To say Wolfe is eccentric would be an understatement. F*cking weird being more apropos. Wolfe hires Bay and her detective agency to prove that Tyler Bell is alive. Naturally, Wolfe knows more about the case than he's letting on, but refuses to share any information with Bay. Hello, client from hell.
It isn't long before the exasperating and evasive Wolfe is himself one of the "disappeared."
What I liked about Jericho Cay is that the author manages to use the extensive backstory (from previous novels) without resorting to obvious info-dumps while providing enough information to make the story accessible to a first time reader of the series. I was tempted to give this 4-stars just on that basis alone. I went with three because this is the eleventh book in an established series, and as such, has the somewhat watered-down feel of a book that is relying on established settings and characters. In other words, I need to go back and read earlier books, which I suspect are much stronger overall. This story felt like a pause before the next storm.