Located on the idyllic Georgia coast, Jekyl Island was the playground of the rich at the turn of the last century. Vanderbilts, Goulds, Rockefellers, and other members of elite society vacationed there, enjoying the finest aspects of Southern hospitality that money could buy and importing the rest from New York. Indeed, the money was good: the club's one hundred members controlled one sixth of the nation's wealth.
When one of the club's members is shot to death on the island, his fellow captains of industry anxiously conclude it was as a hunting accident. Is the impending visit to the Jekyl Island Club by President McKinley the only reason? Could J. P. Morgan himself have been the one who pulled the trigger? Whose side is member and millionaire newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer on?
The answer to whether or not the richest of the rich can literally get away with murder lies in the hands of local sheriff John Le Brun, a wily Civil War veteran who has his own agenda with the Yankees who bought Jekyl Island.
This ingenious novel raises Brent Monahan to the first rank of contemporary entertainers. The real Jekyl Island Club, its members, and many real events from American history of the era are interwoven within a plot that could easily have happened. Cleverly plotted and delightfully told, The Jekyl Island Club is suspenseful storytelling at its finest.
A swank Southern resort for the nation's elite at the turn of the last century forms the evocative backdrop for this first mystery by horror writer Monahan (The Book of Common Dread). Prominent names like Morgan, Vanderbilt, Gould and Pulitzer gather on Jekyl Island off the coast of Georgia to be pampered in opulent seclusion. When one of the club members, Erastus Springer, is shot dead in an apparent hunting accident, the powerful close ranks. The timing of this and a subsequent stabbing death is unfortunate, as President McKinley is due to visit the island to debate the country's plans to acquire colonies. The local cop with the hard job of solving the crimes and soothing the monster egos is Sheriff John Le Brun. Possessed of a sharp mind, Le Brun isn't the bumpkin the wealthy take him for. He never really attempts to smooth the moneyed feathers. In fact, he has his own personal (and financial) reasons for stirring things up. Monahan has a deft touch with the foibles of the period; he works hard at capturing the voices of the resort's black servants, and carefully details the mechanics of practicing medicine in 1899. Instead of providing a plethora of suspects, however, he chooses to develop the personalities of the real-life tycoons--which are interesting but not plot sustaining. The mixed result is a mystery rich in social history, but poor in narrative drive.