Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Gil Hodges is not my idea of someone I'd like walking in the door being introduced by my daughter. But as the hard drinking, raunchy-mouthed, over-sexed, college professor/botanist who finds himself marooned on a desolate primitive Maine coastal island with five VERY type A women, his character works well in Darcy Scott's twisted, chilling plot. I don't particularly care for stories that presume five very strong women cannot fend off one very evil predator who's hiding out on the island without the aid of A MAN!!! But, if I suspend my personal dislike of the whole Gil Hodges character and that "poor females needing a man to solve their problems" premise, I have to admit this is a rip snorting, well-written, page-turning adventure story with enough mystery built in to make it an attractive 2nd volume in the "Island Mystery" series.
The story is not complicated: five women have come to Mistake Island for their annual week long girls' retreat....no men or children allowed. There's also no electricity, no indoor plumbing (water is hand pumped from a well), and they've taken a pledge to turn off the cell phones. It's supposed to be a relaxing, wine sharing, sleeping, swimming, reading, resting week. Except that someone forgot to tell David Duggan, partner of one of the women, who decides to drag his buddy Gil out to "visit" for an afternoon just before a typical Maine coastal fog bank rolls in to strand both gents at least overnight.
At that point, all kinds of nasty events begin to happen. A mysterious, dirty, swarmy vagrant turn up, (apparently known by the woman who owns the island), essential items (like the spark plugs in the boat's engine, and emergency cell-phones) start disappearing, and it becomes apparent that this gentleman is up to no good. I can't say much more without giving away the story. It's quickly apparent that the bad guy is not going to allow anyone to leave the island alive, unless...... and Scott sprinkles just enough clues at a steady pace to keep the reader focused on the what, who and why.
Scott writes well, keeping the pace moving right along. I only wish I had been able to sort out the five women and their personalities a bit earlier in the story...I found them confusing until about half-way through the book. It's a story with a spectacularly surprising ending, and like the ending in Matinicus (the first book in the series), I'm not sure I'm comfortable with how it resolves. I also think it could have used just a bit more backfill for readers who have not read the first book. It's been almost a year since I read the first one, and I had a hard time remembering some of the characters referred to.
It will be interesting to see if Hodges' experiences on Mistake Island will temper his lifestyle in the next installment of the series. Either way, I've no doubt that Scott will produce another read that is every bit as enjoyable as this one.
Many thanks to Maine Authors Publishing who sent a copy with the expectation of an unbiased review.
Title: Reese's Leap
Author: Darcy Scott
Publisher: Maine Authors Publishing (2013), Perfect Paperback, 216 pages
Genre: mystery, amateur sleuth
Subject: island life, secrets, Maine lore
Setting: Mistake Island off coast of Maine
Series: Island Mysteries
Source: review copy from the publisher
Posted by Tina at 12:00 AM