The Boat House by Jana D. Barrett takes us inside the world of the very wealthy, the very powerful, and the sometimes mentally unstable. Genevieve Vandermere – Anderson is eighteen, but for the last six years she has lived with the horrible guilt that it was her drunken, pre-teen, behaviour that killed her mother and another totally unknown family, when she was steering the boat that caused the horrific accident. Adopted by her step-father Anderson, Genevieve’s life has been ruthlessly controlled and directed by the man she now has come to view with distrust, disdain and disgust in equal measures. There is something evil about Anderson and she is determined to unravel the mystery that seems to surround her family. With the help of a hunky Private Investigator, Easton and her two new friends, Livi and Stellan, Genevieve determines to expose her lying, cheating, manipulative and possibly murderous step-father and escape to the freedom she feels she deserves.
This story, The Boat House, is an intriguing murder/mystery that Jana Barrett takes in many directions. Her characters are believable and well-drawn. It does jump from one (first person) perspective to another, between chapters, which some readers will love, but others may find disconcerting. That having been said, it is a very readable story and some of the descriptive passages, especially those covering the location, of the South Carolina coastal areas, are both beautiful and evocative. As a mystery, the plot was intricate, with all the loose ends neatly tied together by the end of the book, which is always preferable, from a reader’s perspective. The fascinating thing from my viewpoint was how Barrett managed to weave all the characters together, as involved in the mystery, in such a way that they all had a stake in the outcome of exposing Anderson for the evil man he clearly was. This was a good, solid, enjoyable read and one I can definitely recommend to others, especially those who like solving mysteries, with a little romance thrown in for good measure.