Nantucket Grand

Steven Axelrod (Author)


During a long winter and short, chilly spring, a series of disturbing incidents rock the small resort island of Nantucket. A Land Bank executive dies in a suspicious hunting accident, a prominent local family's historic summer cottage burns down in an arson fire, and a teenage girl lies comatose from a drug overdose. When spring turns to summer and the tourists flood the island, the mysterious cycle of violence spins faster. A young Jamaican boy is found dead in the harbor, a sex-for-drugs pornography ring is exposed, and a beloved local hero is murdered in cold blood. Could all of these events be part of the same sinister conspiracy? Poetry-writing Police Chief Henry Kennis, back for his third case in NANTUCKET GRAND by Steven Axelrod, doubts it. But his new girlfriend, Jane Stiles, an author of cozy mysteries, is certain that all these terrible events are connected. In one of her books, they would all be related. Henry scoffs, but as the cords pull tighter, drawing him into a scandal that would change Nantucket forever, he begins to realize that Jane might be right, after all. But is it already too late? The case comes to shattering conclusion as a vengeful father, a damaged beauty, a ruthless billionaire, and a stone-cold killer converge on the 150-foot luxury yacht that gives the book its title. Henry, putting his own life at stake, must take desperate action to set things right and save the world-his world-the little comma of scrub pine and dune grass he has come to call home.

Product Details

Poisoned Pen Press
Publish Date
May 03, 2016
5.8 X 1.3 X 8.5 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Steven Axelrod holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and remains a member of the WGA despite a long absence from Hollywood. His work has been featured on various websites, including the literary e-zine Numéro Cinq, where he is on the masthead;; and The Good Men Project; as well as the magazines Pulp Modern and Big Pulp.

A father of two, he lives on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where he paints houses and writes.


This was a very well written book and I would highly recommend it!!--AuthorsOnTheAir
The engaging characters and witty dialogue make this book an enjoyable read.--NetGalley
An intricate chain of crimes set off during Nantucket's avowedly quiet season leaves the shrewd poet/police chief little time for versification. When Jared Bromley tries to return a biology textbook to the object of his adoration, his classmate Alana Trikilis, he sees her leaving her house with another boy. Worried that she's being taken by force, he follows the two to a supposedly uninhabited cottage at the east end of Nantucket and ends up rescuing Alana from a dangerous situation. Daisy DeHart, the school psychologist Jared sees inside the cottage, has been recruiting girls for porn movies, and Alana has gone there hoping to help Jill Phelan, another high school girl who's caught up in the ring. The other people inside the cottage are so menacing that Alana and Jared don't dare tell the police. But the NPD chief, LA transplant Henry Kennis, is pulled in when Jill overdoses on a new kind of drug. Kennis has to leave her bedside, her father, and her friend Oscar Graham to attend a memorial service for an ex-Marine who was shot by a stray bullet during hunting season even though he was wearing an orange vest. His death seems less like an accident when Kennis finds a sniper's bullet rather than standard hunting buckshot. Before Kennis can follow up, he faces a case of arson and Alana's nervous account of the movies made in that cottage. A mystery writer Kennis is cautiously courting thinks all the events so far are related, although Kennis remains skeptical of her theories when the months pass with no real answers to the crimes. Then Oscar Graham's body is found floating in a salt marsh, the one holdout in a family land sale is murdered, and an obsession turned to mania threatens to rend Nantucket. A beautiful island made ugly by class warfare makes a convincing backdrop for Chief Kennis' third case (Nantucket Five-Spot, 2015, etc.).--Kirkus
The poetry-writing police chief, Henry Kennis, returns to investigate a series of deaths in Nantucket. A teen girl is in the hospital from a drug overdose, and another tells Kennis that the high-school counselor recruits girls for pornographic movies. Henry moves carefully to find evidence, but the cottage where filming took place is burned down. Meanwhile, another resident is killed, supposedly while hunting, but with a sniper rifle. There seems to be a link between the victim and the high-school counselor, but Henry can't quite connect the dots. More murders follow through the winter and into the spring. Using his screenwriting background to good advantage, Axelrod packs plenty of layers and surprises into this intelligent, twisty tale. Henry's wry humor as well as his affection for the residents he serves exude warmth and will appeal to fans of Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes.--Booklist
It's great to have our Hero Henry as the local Police Chief of the lovely island of Nantucket. Not only do we get all the "inside info" as to all the crimes & suspects, but he continually lets us into his analytical thought processes too. It's a very interesting plot that keeps you reading faster, to keep up with the many twists & turns. Since this is book 3 of a Great Series, hopefully more future books are planned.--NetGalley
Wasn't too sure about this book until I started reading it and then the whole mystery just pulled me in and wouldn't let go until I finished it. This is a really good book and well worth someone checking it out.--NetGalley
Axelrod writes his hero somewhat like the late Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone. Both are former LA detectives turned Chiefs of Police in small towns, and both are great characters to read. Axelrod has once again brought Kennis to life and readers will thoroughly enjoy it!--SuspenseMagazine
I always enjoy discovering a fine new crime novelist, so I'm indebted to Barbara Peters of Poisoned Penn Press and the proprietor of the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, for introducing me to Steven Axelrod. Steven isn't exactly new. His latest novel, Nantucket Grand, is the third in his series set on the island of Nantucket but he's new to me. Nantucket Grand has everything I look for in a crime novel tight, vivid prose, a sharply-drawn setting, an intricate plot with lots of unexpected twists, well-crafted characters, and an appealing protagonist in the person of Police Chief Henry Kennis, a dogged investigator you're going to enjoy following on all of his adventures. If you're like me, you think of Nantucket as an Atlantic coast island with a rich whaling history and a present as a great vacation destination. But the Nantucket of Axelrod's imagination is a land of tensions between locals and well-heeled summer visitors, and between those who would preserve its natural beauty and those who would bulldoze everything to build more playgrounds for the rich. The story begins when a local Land Bank executive dies in what appears to be a hunting accident. But when someone sets a historic summer cottage on fire, the body of a young Jamaican boy is found floating in the harbor, and a local hero is murdered, Chief Kennis has all that he can handle. As Kennis digs into the seemingly unrelated crimes, he discovers they are all part of a diabolical conspiracy. Kennis bears a superficial resemblance to Jesse Stone, the hero of a series of crime novels by the late, great Robert B. Parker a series that has been picked up and given new life by another fine writer, Reed Farrel Coleman. Both Jesse and Kennis are former Los Angeles detectives who have made new lives for themselves as small-town police chiefs in coastal Massachusetts. But moody Jesse tends to spend his idle moments drinking whiskey, brooding about the injury that ended his professional baseball career, and obsessing about his bitch of an ex-wife. Kennis spends his writing poetry and attending island literary events. Axelrod holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and remains a member of the WGA despite a long absence from Hollywood. His work has been featured on various websites, including the literary e-zine Numéro Cinq, where he is on the masthead. His work has also appeared at and The GoodMen Project, as well as the magazines PulpModern and BigPulp. He lives on Nantucket, where he paints houses and writes, often at the same time.--Bruce di Silva
Nantucket Grand has a well-thought out plot with just the right characters to carry it. There is a bonus in the poetry, written by the author. Mr. Axelrod, thanks for giving me such a good tour of Nantucket.--Bookloons