The Empty Kayak
by Jodé Millman
June 5-30, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
A pop-up thunderstorm marched its way across the Hudson River, ambushing a young couple’s kayaking trip. The woman miraculously made it back to shore, but her fiancé remains missing. Ebony and her partner are the first responders who rush to the river to assist in rescuing the capsized boater.
The victim’s identity shocks Ebony to the core. Kyle Emory, the ex-boyfriend of her estranged best friend, attorney Jessie Martin, is the man who never made it out of the water. The accident ignites a firestorm between the two friends, pitting them against each other in a race to discover whether Kyle survived or whether he met his untimely demise. Under pressure from the chief and the DA, Ebony needs to solve the mystery, while Jessie seeks justice for the sake of the daughter she shares with Kyle.
The investigation leads them through the dark worlds of social media, online sports betting, and extreme sports. Along the way, they uncover lies and betrayals, and gather a list of dangerous suspects who are all linked to the accident survivor, Kyle’s mysterious fiancée. Even more, the discovery that Kyle possessed his own life-shattering secrets has trapped Ebony between her career and her lifelong friendship with Jessie. Yet neither Ebony nor Jessie will stop until they unearth the truth. Even if it destroys their friendship and their lives.
But the evidence is as murky as the secretive Hudson River. Only the river knows whether Kyle’s untimely death was an accident, a suicide, or murder.
Praise for The Empty Kayak:
"Three strong women follow their own inexorable paths to justice in THE EMPTY KAYAK, and it's a pleasure to cheer them on. THE EMPTY KAYAK is not only a compelling and believable mystery, but a sharply drawn portrait of women's friendships"
Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of House on Fire
"Twisty personal relationships build to a satisfying, stunner finale in The Empty Kayak."
~ Lisa Black, NYT/ bestselling author of the Locard Institute series
This is not the first book in this series. While there are many references to events found in previous novels, it reads well on its own. The plot centers around answering the questions of whether the death was accidental or deliberate and, if deliberate, the identity of the villain. Millman did a good job of planting doubts so we cannot draw a conclusion early.
The characters are adequately developed. Jessie's intense feelings for her ex-boyfriend did not seem realistic, however. While he was the father of her daughter, Jessie says he betrayed and lied to her and was an ultimate scumbag. (807, 983/4899) He had been financially and parentally irresponsible. (443/4899)
There is more in the novel about personal lives than about the police investigative procedure. The police work was somewhat ineffective. That allowed Jessie to uncover facts the police seemed to overlook. She got phone records and uncovered other important documents before the police did. The evidence that ultimately solved the dilemma was mentioned early on and I kept wondering why the police had done nothing to pursue it.
The novel touches on several issues, from social media popularity to complicated marital and family relationships. The setting descriptions were done well. Millman's writing style is good and I will be looking for more from her.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: May 2023
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781685122874 (ISBN10: 1685122876)
Series: Queen City Crimes Series, Book 3
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Author Bio:HOOKER AVENUE and THE MIDNIGHT CALL, which won the Independent Press, American Fiction, and Independent Publisher Bronze IPPY Awards for Legal Thriller. She’s an attorney, a reviewer for Booktrib.com, the host/producer of The Backstage with the Bardavon podcast, and creator of The Writer’s Law. Jodé lives with her family in the Hudson Valley, where she is at work on the next installment of her “Queen City Crimes” series —novels inspired by true crimes in the region she calls home.
Catch Up With Jodé Millman:
BookBub - @JodeMillmanAuthor
Instagram - @jodewrites
Twitter - @worldseats
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(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)