Monday, January 25, 2010
The following review by Sue Ann Connaughton was posted at
Genre Review (used with permission)
The latest in a sailing mystery series, Devils Island follows the adventures of Seattle heiress, Mary Whitney.
Mary and her relatively new husband, public relations executive Michael Tanner, share a blissful, enviable life. Her vengeful ex-husband, Edwin Tobias, resolves to destroy that life. He gets his chance when Mary and Tanner plan a fly-sail vacation to Bayfield, Wisconsin and Tanner is delayed by work responsibilities in Seattle. Mary ventures forth alone, intending to sail, explore, and contemplate the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior before Tanner arrives. In Wisconsin, Mary meets a local gadabout with information about her ancestors; cultivates a sailing buddy; and interacts with a Coast Guardsman who enlists her to note any suspicious activity on the Lake.
Always, but unbeknownst to Mary, Tobias lurks. From a motor yacht, he stalks Mary on Lake Superior until he is able to set up the optimal conditions for kidnapping her: when she is isolated and without access to radio or cell phone communications. Thus follows a thrilling cat-and-mouse sequence of scenes in which feisty Mary struggles fiercely but is ultimately bound and hoisted into the icy lake to suffer a slow, tortuous drowning.
Because it’s a sailing adventure, Devils Island naturally includes characteristics of the sport of sailing. However, I found the explanation of sailing procedures and use of jargon to be so excessive that large portions read like a sailing manual. This could have spoiled the readability of the book as a suspense novel. Fortunately, enough of a foreboding atmosphere is maintained throughout to motivate the reader to keep reading by focusing on those aspects of the story that work best: the plot, the action passages, and the interesting characters.