Book Review: Vicki Doudera’s Final Settlement

Posted February 27, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Vicki Doudera’s Final Settlement

Final Settlement

on April 1, 2013 and has 336 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Fourth in the Darby Farr realtor mystery series; this story takes place in Maine.

This is a story ARC I received from the publisher.

My Take

It’s amazing how so many different indiscretions can be captured in one place and wreak such havoc on so many innocents. It’s an interesting twist that Doudera takes with this, building sympathy for the murder victim only to destroy that concern within pages. It’s a cozy read within a small village of people who know each other. We thought. Slipping in alongside is that terror Darby feels about her grandfather’s actions in World War II. The fear, the wonder, the worry about her ancestor and how it shaped her mother. A mother she still misses so horribly.

On the whole, I love how Doudera builds her scenes and maintains their warmth — even with a nasty blizzard coming through! Her characters…I dunno. There’s just something missing with them. I want to love them, but I adore her settings more.

My Whining
If you don’t think too much, you’ll miss the odd notes; the sense that Doudera gathered up scattered ideas to form the side traumas, which creates cold spots within the story.

As little as I want to rock the boat on Darby and Miles’ romance, I don’t understand Doudera’s reasoning for that kiss if she’s not going to take it somewhere. Make some drama with it. I kept waiting throughout the book for something to happen…and…nothing.

Donny’s sudden revelation about Connie, Darby, and Tina was too abrupt. Too much as if Doudera wanted to get to the end and get it over with. I’d have liked to see a bit more confusion and worry as opposed to that immediate light-bulb moment.

I am curious to know what that last death was supposed to mean. Related to the lost formula? Or simple accident?

The Story

Lucky for Carlene Ross that Donny Pease is so easygoing when she pulls up her latest catch. But the detective’s conclusion just doesn’t set right with Chief Dupont and, while neither Dupont nor Darby liked the woman, neither do they appreciate a miscarriage of justice.

Tina is so caught up in her fervor for building up her business that Donny’s dreams of an ideal honeymoon may go for naught. Which may not be a bad thing since some serial thief has stolen the Manolo Blahniks Terri is loaning her! But theft itself, is not as major as multiple murder and betrayal.

The Characters

Darby Farr is employed by Pacific Coast Realty, a real estate business in California, and another which she inherited from her aunt in Maine. Miles Porter is an investigative journalist with whom Darby has a long-distance relationship (she’s in San Diego; he’s in San Francisco); he’s determined to be there. Jada Farr was Darby’s Japanese mother; her father — Darby’s grandfather, Tokutaro Sugiyama — was involved in atrocities during World War II.

Tina Ames was her aunt’s assistant, Donny’s fiancée, and absolutely mad about spending every minute building her client list for Darby’s Maine real estate office, Near & Farr Realty, to prove herself. Terri Ames Dodge (she’s a fundraiser and networker in the community, who’s obsessed with designer-anything) and Trixie (she’s in the Coast Guard) are Tina’s sisters; Travis is the too-late brother. Terri’s husband, Tripp Dodge is wealthy and loves and adores his kids: Tiffany, Tommy, and Tyler.

Donny Pease is about to get married! A general handyman and property manager, he also runs a water taxi and loves to poke at Carlene Ross. He’s ready to leave off the feud begun generations ago, but she isn’t. Lester Ross (he’s not holding any grudges), Cal Holbrook is an old fishing buddy, and Stephen are standing up for Donny.

Chief Charles Dupont is Hurricane Harbor’s police chief, who accepts Darby’s curiosity. He’s 64 and he has one more year before he retires. Turns out he was in love with Darby’s mother. Bitsy Carmichael is Dupont’s runaway wife; she’s come back after being gone for fifteen years. She’s also Donny’s first love. Bitchy little thing… Rosie is the tiny Labrador-mix puppy Bitsy and Dupont adopt. Derek, Charles’ son, is a doctor. Alana (his daughter) and her partner Rosemary have a son, Dupont’s grandson, Jonas.

Deputy Tom Allen is fated to always be a deputy. Detective Dave Robichaud is in charge of the murder case, and he’s ruled it an accident. Detective Pete Paulsen is his partner. Leonard Marcus is in prison for fraud. Special Agent Ed Landis of the FBI is involved on the pharmaceutical end. Bartholomew Anderson is Bridges’ lawyer. Denny Ross is the deadly drug dealer.

Babette Applebaum moved up to the island last August and set up her own real estate business. Earl is the new bartender at The Eye. Alison Dyer is a retired English professor currently involved in helping to build low-income housing. And a very observant woman, well, she is a bird watcher. Eric Thompson is the assistant curator at the Westerly Art Museum, who knows someone who may be able to translate the journal Darby found.

Lorraine Delvecchio has some deep, dark secrets — and hyperthymesia. Dr. Hotchkiss was Lorraine’s former employer. Esther Crandall is her next door neighbor. Alcott Bridges, the eighty-year-old artist, plans to sell his house. Gracie is his own private pain. Connie Fisher is the island hairdresser who is building a fancy new salon. Liza works for her. Her husband is Scott Fisher, the up-and-coming Manatuck DA.

Ryan Oakes is the association director for the Maine Island Association housed in Fairview (A House to Die For), and it’s thriving.

Kenji Miyazaki is Japanese and willing to translate Darby’s grandfather’s journal. He works with Hideki Kobayshi at Genkei Pharmaceuticals. He does come in handy with Lorraine’s coded accounts.

The Cover and Title

The cover is quite gruesome with the iced-over lighthouse, the icily precarious rocks along the shore, and the warning sign posted with the title…bwah-ha-ha… It certainly makes me want to step very carefully.

The title is accurate enough. There are a number of Final Settlements in this book. And I hated about half of ’em!