Musseled Out: A Maine Clambake Mystery By Barbara Ross

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

When Julia Snowden took temporary leave from her job as a Manhattan venture capitalist, it was to help save the Snowden Family Clambake Company in Maine. Her initial commitment of six months has stretched into eight, and now her employer is forcing her to make a decision. While she misses her New York life, she also enjoys living back home and running the family’s clambake on Morrow Island. And then there’s the relationship she’s started with her childhood crush, Chris Durand…

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Julia is further pressured by the self-proclaimed Mussel King, David Thwing. Just as the Snowden family business is coming out of the red, David plans to open a rival seafood restaurant. When his body is discovered under a family friend’s fishing boat, it looks as though Julia’s brother-in-law Sonny may be involved. The boat’s owner, Peter Murray, is missing and presumed dead.

Lobstering is a precarious business, and fluctuating prices place tremendous stress on lobstermen and their families. Secrets also seem to be a way of life in Busman’s Harbor. Chris avoids explaining why he disappears for days, Sonny refuses to tell his wife about a frightening phone call, his father has an unexpected abundance of extra cash, and Julia’s own mother seems to be out of contact.

Image source: Kensington

While Julia struggles to decide whether to trust Chris and let the past be the past, the two bond together as they substitute as cook and waitress at the local diner and town gathering-place. While there, Julia can’t resist pleas for help from a missing man’s wife, to the exasperation of the local police (who are refreshingly competent and on the case).

Readers will enjoy immersing themselves in this tiny town dependent on tourism and seafood for survival. Families there have been fishing and lobstering for generations, and encroachments on their territory directly threaten their sole means of support. Julia herself is torn about whether to return to Manhattan, where her career was as challenging and rewarding as it was exhausting and lonely. Readers will be empathetic to Julia’s dilemma, and seeing her learn to trust her instincts and the warm community of Busman’s Harbor is extremely satisfying. The delicious descriptions of local Maine cuisine, along with lobster recipes, are a wonderful bonus.

To enter to win a copy of Musseled Out, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Mussled,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 16, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

You can use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Sounds like an intriguing setting.

  2. The first two books were wonderful. I would love to win the third one.

  3. Looks like another great addition to this series! Would love to win!
    Scouts579 (at) aol (dot) com


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