This is book number 4 in the Henry Kennis Nantucket Mysteries series.
"Axelrod and his protagonist bring an amused, judicious, and ultimately tolerant eye to the foibles large and small of a mixed Santa's bag of characters." —Kirkus Reviews
It's Christmas Eve on Nantucket and prominent businessman Jackson Blum is about to live out his own version of A Christmas Carol. No visions, no ghosts, just the past, represented by the exhumed skeleton of his old partner Ted Coddington with a bullet from Blum's Ruger pistol in its skull; the present, in the form of a horribly mistreated employee who reveals Blum as the Scrooge he is; and the future, invoked by a family crisis that threatens to ruin the rest of his life. Past, Present and Future, all colliding on the same dark night of the soul.
Nantucket Police Chief Henry Kennis is investigating the so-cold Coddington case with Blum as the main suspect while he roots out a plot to rig the traditional five-thousand-dollar Red Tickets raffle and struggles to close down a local opioid dealer who's selling to high school kids from a house on Tuckernuck Island—a bleak vista of wild moors, dirt roads, and unpainted homes a century old. "It's a time machine," says Kennis. With a whaling history.
Henry's own son has been accused of cheating, his daughter's been pushed out of the high school a capella singing group, and his girlfriend's Christmas play is careening toward disaster. It looks like a calamitous holiday for everyone.
All the scandals, tragedies, and intrigues of the season close in on Blum and Kennis as the two of them face off amid the carolers and colored lights. Finally, there's nothing to save the modern-day Scrooge from his terrifying future but a decades-old secret scribbled on a stolen slip of paper, and the uncertain mercy of the son he's lost. But it's Christmas, and as the snow finally starts to fall on the decorated trees that line Main Street, it's just possible that all sins will be forgiven and all sinners redeemed.
God Bless us, every one.
Steven Axelrod holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and remains a member of the WGA despite a long absence from Hollywood. His work has been featured on various websites, including the literary e-zine Numéro Cinq, where he is on the masthead; Salon.com; and The Good Men Project; as well as the magazines Pulp Modern and Big Pulp.
A father of two, he lives on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where he paints houses and writes.