North of Boston by Elizabeth Elo *Review*

north of bostonWhen the fishing boat Pirio is on is rammed by a freighter, she finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic. Somehow, she survives nearly four hours in the water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. But the boat’s owner and her professional fisherman friend, Ned, is not so lucky.

Compelled to look after Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina,  Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking—and Ned’s death—was no accident. It’s a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, who tells her that nothing is ever what it seems. Then the navy reaches out to her to participate in research on human survival in dangerously cold temperatures.

With the help of a curious journalist named Russell Parnell, Pirio begins unraveling a lethal plot involving the glacial whaling grounds off Baffin Island. In a narrow inlet in the arctic tundra, Pirio confronts her ultimate challenge: to trust herself. 

Pirio is the kind of character I like,  tough as nails on the outside, but with a warm heart on the inside especially when it comes to her sensitive,  ten-year-old godson,  Noah.  Even though she doesn’t feel like she’s cut out to be a parent, not now, not ever- she’s sucked in when Noah’s father dies and her best friend Thomasina can’t seem to stay sober  long enough to be there for him.

Determined to do what’s best for Noah, Pirio starts to investigate the boat “accident” that killed Ned and left her for dead and hypothermic in the cold ocean waters.  Convinced this was no maritime hit and run, Pirio starts to uncover clues that convince her she’s on to something bigger than she thought.  When people start getting hurt and lives are threatened, she decides to infiltrate the business that just may be responsible for Ned’s death…and more.  North of Boston is a skillfully written, captivating debut thriller.  I look forward to more of Elizabeth Elo’s writing.

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