Whale Season

Whale Season

by N.M. Kelby

I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Whale Season by N.M. Kelby.

I’m a sucker for mysteries set in South Florida — and there’s a group of writers I can count on, like Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen and Jim Hall…I love these guys. And I was happy to see a woman join their ranks, with Whale Season. This one is set on the slightly seedy gulf coast town of Whale Harbor — where, by the way, there have never been any whales — but there is a barking bartender — he’s also the mayor, a sort of prim strip club owner with dreams of franchise, and not one but two Jesuses. One of them may be a homicidal maniac, but at least he has good manners before he sends you to your just rewards. It’s a place where a boy’s best friend is his gator, and a long lost house rises from the warm waters of the Gulf. Whale harbor — you wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s a nice place to visit. Whale Season is by N.M. Kelby. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Whale Season by N.M. Kelby.

Whale Harbor, a tacky little tourist town on the west coast of Florida, saw its glory days vanish when the giant gator ranch sank into the Gulf long ago.  Now it’s Christmas time in Whale Harbor, and the local RV salesman is about to win the most important hand of poker in his life — he’s playing against the first Jesus in this book; the second Jesus doesn’t show up until later. His ex-wife is serving dinner and singing carols along with the strippers and clients at her club, as visions of franchising the place dance in her head, and the local chief of police is falling in love with a mystery woman named Carlotta. Whale Season sounds like a wacky South Florida mystery, and while it is, the author also lets the characters get serious and even sincere; these people aren’t so out there that you can’t relate to them, although they are pretty out there… The writing is crisp and the plot zips along to its explosive conclusion. Whale Season by N.M. Kelby. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Whale Season by N.M. Kelby.

When writing a mystery, there are certain rules — if you’re writing about crime in Washington DC for instance, there’s got to be a vast conspiracy. If the book is set in the deep south, someone’s got to have a beehive and a meth lab — maybe not the same person. And then there are mysteries set in South Florida, like Whale Season. Tourists? Check. Gators? They’re in there. A big storm? Yup. Wacky characters, twisted villains, loveable losers? All represented. Whale Harbor is a tiny tourist town on the Gulf Coast which has seen better days, until Jesus rides into town on Christmas Eve looking for a game of poker. Well, the first one; the second Jesus shows up later. What I particularly liked was how the author started wacky but wasn’t afraid to let the plot get somewhat serious, treating her machete-wielding saviour with sympathy and still pulling off a happy ending for the residents of Whale Harbor. Whale Season is by N.M. Kelby. I’m Kim Aleaxnder and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Whale Season by N.M. Kelby.

Kelby is a welcome addition to the roster of South Florida mystery writers, and if you like Dave Barry or Carl Hiaasen, you should give this book a try. Kelby takes us to tiny, tacky Whale Harbor, where there never was a whale and the main attraction used to be a giant and tame gator in a Minnie Pearl hat, until the gator farm got swallowed by a sinkhole. The town just never recovered. Now it’s Christmas Eve, and RV salesman and general loser Leon is about to play poker with Jesus. He’d better win, because this Jesus is actually a homicidal maniac and his idea of saving people isn’t exactly scriptural. The pleasure of Whale Season is the rhythm of Kelby’s writing: bursts of wackiness, stretches of wisdom, and she treats her oddball gulf coast characters if not with respect, then with affection. Who could resist the barking bartender who advises us to find our inner dog, or the Blind Brothers Blues band, who are neither blind nor brothers? Whale Season, as it says right on the cover, is a really good story. Whale Season by N.M. Kelby. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


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