Nantucket Sawbuck

Steven Axelrod
Poisoned Pen Press (2014)
ISBN 9781464200892
Reviewed by Brent McLean for Reader Views (7/14)

Steven Axelrod’s “Nantucket Sawbuck,” is more than just a mystery or thriller novel, it provides insight of the locals versus the big rich summer residents arriving and polluting Nantucket in more ways than one. 

When the final touches are nearly done for a house built for Preston Lomax, a rich New Yorker, rumors spread that the owner will bail from the area and all the local builders and construction workers will get stiffed on the final payment.  The local workers need the money and more than a few are angry to hear this news. Soon after, Lomax is found murdered in his new home.

Henry Kennis is not your ordinary local Sherriff, but even his time working for homicide in LA would not prepare him for the myriad of suspects, both local and seasonal residents, in a high profile Nantucket murder.

The writing style of Axelrod flows so well, and as a reader enjoying these types of novels, I was able to finish the book in two days.  Nantucket Sawbuck is well written and readers will enjoy the development of the characters and the roles they play in determining who committed the Lomax murder.

Nantucket Sawbuck introduces us to Henry Kennis and a few local and seasonal residents that will continue to develop with the Henry Kennis series by Axelrod. I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the next novel to see whether or not Axelrod meant to show the underbelly of Nantucket locals and their thoughts of the rich seasonal residents.

The initial storyline implies the ‘us versus them’ mentality and every small town with a winter or summer recreation area can relate to this attitude. Townies in New England go through this in Nantucket, along the Cape, Portsmith NH, Kennebunkport Maine and in the mountains from Maine through Vermont during the ski season. Most locals dislike the seasons bringing the ‘tourists’, but most seasonal areas need these big spenders to drive the local economy. Let’s see how things turn out in Nantucket!

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