Sep 1, 2014

{Review} of Harbor Island by Carla Neggers

Harbor Island by Carla Neggers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Mystery
Theme: Suspense, Romance, Suspense
Received: Publisher

When an FBI agent’s clandestine meeting with an anonymous informant turns into a cold-blooded murder scene, the only clue seems to involve the most legendary and elusive art thief in the world. From the New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty books, Carla Neggers, comes HARBOR ISLAND (Harlequin MIRA, September 2014, $24.95 U.S./$27.95 CAN.), her latest novel featuring former nun and art crime expert turned FBI agent, Emma Sharpe.

Emma Sharpe is still getting used to life with her new fiancé and fellow FBI agent, Colin Donovan, when she receives an anonymous phone call asking her to come to a remote island off the Boston Harbor.

Emma arrives, to find a dead woman lying in a pool of blood. Gripped in the victim’s cold palm is a stone bearing the signature Celtic inscription of an international thief whom Emma’s family of art detectives has been chasing for the past decade.

Emma discovers that the victim, Rachel Bristol, was a filmmaker working on a movie based on the exploits of the legendary art thief, but her research may have led her too close to the truth and gotten her killed. Or perhaps she is the victim of her former husband and stepdaughter, Travis and Maisie Bristol, two of Hollywood’s most powerful movie producers. The Bristols are working on their own film version of the art thefts and clearly didn’t appreciate the competition.

And what of Oliver Fairbairn, a Hollywood consultant on matters of Celtic mythology exactly like the type inscribed on the stone in the dead woman’s hand? Suspicion even falls on Emma’s friend Finian Bracken, a tortured Irish priest now living in Maine. Ten years ago, however, Father Bracken was Mr. Bracken, a happily married businessman who now has ties to the same Irish village where the now infamous art thief struck for the very first time.

Emma knows this is no movie, however, but real life with real lives in danger, including those of her own FBI team and everyone they care about. To protect them, Emma must solve a case that has, for over a decade, stymied the smartest detectives in the world, including her own grandfather…and she must solve it now.

HARBOR ISLAND is available wherever books are sold, and at


As I'm expanding my genres I decided to go back to my first love, which was mystery thrillers. I'm a huge Raymond Chandler fan, after reading all his novels in high school, so I was excited to give Carla Neggers a try. I heaedr about the Sharpe and Donovan series and loved the idea of an art detective and a deep uncover agent trying to track down an art thief who may be turning in the direction of murder. I am however starting slightly late into the series as Harbor Island is book fourth and a lot I can tell has happened to the main leads. Even though this was the fourth book, I actually didn't feel lost, I was able to understand what's been happening plot wise, the characters were very developed but easy to connect too and understand. And the murder mystery was intense and had me on the edge of my seat, but I was able to know what was happening. I seriously never got bored, but I did get curious on how this all began and of course how Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan meet. So I say if you are looking for a new mystery series with some slight romance, then start from the beginning, since I would love to have known how these two met.

For a long time the Sharpe family has been on the search for a serial art thief, whom has now been dubbed the Sharpe Thief. Emma and her fiancé of four days have just come back to Boston after some time in Dublin working on another case. But these two FBI agents are about to get placed in the middle of a murder that connects to Emma's art thief. With the death of a woman named Rachel Bristol who called Emma to meet with her on information about the thief, is found dead in their meeting place, they are sucked back into a new case. Emma and Colin discover that Rachel was making a movie based off of the Sharpe Thief and that she may have gotten too close. With the trademark Celtic cross found at the scene Emma and Colin know that this thief needs to be found before another death happens.

The whole story may focus on the big murder mystery but there are also many characters involved who are each connected to what has happened. Emma and Colin may be the main pair, but they certainly for me, were not the main focus in this book. I felt they were more secondary characters but still such a great partnership. Almost like a Mulder and Scully duo without the UFO connection and instead replaced with an untouchable thief. The other duo focused on was Matt "Yank" and his wife Lucy who are in another location based in Ireland. And lastly Father Fin and Aiofe O'Byrne who are both connected to Rachel. Aiofe and Fin had a past relationship, but Fin is dealing with the loss of his entire family and Aiofe is the niece of the first victim of the Sharpe Thief. All are connected and each story line is built around who killed Rachel and why, and of course the elusive thief. It's actually really interested to connect the dots and see each prospective. As well as connect to the individual couples who are all dealing with their different type of relationships as well as the main plot line.

As for the main pair, Emma and Colin are still learning about their relationship and how to tell their families about their engagement. It's very obvious about how much they care about each other and that they have a lot to work out. I'm interested to see how these to balance their jobs and differences. But in the end, it's also made me super curious on how they met and got together, so I'll be reading the first books so I can see how it all began.

Overall I loved the mystery and continuation of the same focus on this one thief, its an on going story but the readers to get some things resolved in the end so its not disappointing. I really enjoyed all the well developed characters and the romance that wasn't too focused on but satisfying enough for someone like me who loves romance. My only small issue was the repetition of how attractive Aiofe is, I got that she was pretty and was reminded so much I got annoyed. Luckily I liked her character to I could look past it. I'm hoping in the next book that it focuses more on Emma and Colin then jumping around to other, that way I can connect to them a bit more, as I felt I should have. I cant wait to continue this series and look forward to starting it also from the start.


This is a murder mystery novel with slight romance that will have you solving the case along with the characters. Fans of the Raymond Chandler novels and The Burg series by Kristen Ashley will want to get their hands on Harbor Island by Carla Neggers.

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1 comment:

  1. Mystery sounds great and the romance would get my attention as well