board-stiffElliott Lisbon is the Director of the Ballantyne Foundation, and she has a sweet life, living on an island off South Carolina where she can bike to work in cropped cargo pants and spend her free time on the beach — or working on her Private Investigator’s license. In the meantime, she conducts “discreet inquiries” for the wealthy people who fund the Ballantyne’s good works.

Nick Ransom is the One Who Got Away, her college sweetheart. Now he’s back on the island with a dot-com fortune and a glamorous job in law enforcement. Minutes after Elli runs into them, the sparks are flying — and mere hours later they’re getting in each others’ way as they both investigate the savage murder of a Ballantyne Foundation board member.

The case looks simple to Ransom, who has his eye on one of the more unpleasant surviving board members, but Elli is determined to clear the Ballantyne of all connection with the murder. What’s more, she can see that things are not all that simple. The murder has its roots far off the island, she’s sure, and she has to prove it before the murderer comes after her.

Her love life isn’t that simple, either. Ransom may be a hottie, but he’s not the only one in her life. And she’s not the only one in his life, either. Between the love triangle (rectangle? hexagon?) and the scandals that keep being uncovered in the course of her discreet inquiries, Sea Pine Island may soon be too hot for Elliott.

This is a fast-paced story with likeable characters, a complex plot, and plenty of local color. We’ll be watching eagerly for future installments in the series.