At first, the girl J. W. Jackson encounters strolling alone along South Beach seems like your typical teenager. But there’s nothing typical about young Cricket Callahan, the spirited only daughter of the vacationing President of the United States. Why is the feisty First Kid so intent upon eluding her Secret Service guardians, and why does the President want J.W. and Zee to watch over her? The answer comes in the form of a dead body. Not even executive privilege can shield the President’s daughter from harm unless Jackson roots out a vengeful killer who may be hiding among the President’s most trusted.
Retired Boston cop J.W. Jackson and his wife, Zee, are back for their eighth Martha's Vineyard mystery (following Death on a Vineyard Beach, 1996). When J.W. befriends a teenage girl, he finds she's even more trouble than the average adolescent. In fact, all Cricket Callahan wants is to be a normal teenager. But she's the daughter of the president, who happens to be vacationing on the Vineyard. Cricket yearns for a life out of the fishbowl of publicity and security; and with the grudging okay of her mother, and under the watchful eye of a Secret Service agent playing big sister, Cricket is allowed to spend a couple of incognito days as the Jacksons' "cousin Debby." From the uptight security agents who descend to check things out J.W. learns that threats have been made against Cricket and soon figures out that an insider is likely involved. It's tricky business playing cat-and-mouse when various government agents could be the cat and the president's daughter is the mouse, especially while trying to let the mouse enjoy clamming, cooking and chumming with a couple of normal island kids. With the aid of his own intelligence sources and some deft sleuthing, J.W. identifies the turncoat and baits a trap with his own life to prove it. None of this is very plausible, but plenty of island lore and some simple seafood recipes spice the action.