Genre: General humor/fiction
Inadvertent embezzler Blake Calloway high-tails it to the Caribbean, a step ahead of the Feds and desperate to restart life as an anonymous divemaster in a tropical paradise. On Blacktip Island, though, Blake quickly discovers “tropics” doesn’t mean “paradise,” and rookie boat hands stick out like a reef at low tide.
The locals are quirky: a landlord who swears he’s Fletcher Christian reincarnated, a boss who likes fish better than people, a sloshed resort manager with a sex-crazed wife, a possibly ax-murdering neighbor, and a girlfriend who just might turn Blake in for the reward money. Blake steers a ragged course between them, trying to straighten out the mess he’s made before the cops can track him down and haul him away.
Blacktip Island is an irresistible comedy for anyone who’s ever dreamed of trading the rat race for a hammock under the palm trees.
Blake is a screw-up son to a well-to-do family trying to find a better place in life. The man’s relationships with his father, girlfriend, and job are all in the process of going to hell as the story starts – and we find him on a quiet Caribbean island contemplating the value of running away from it all. He decides to try and fix things – and it all falls apart anyway, rather quickly.
The story itself is full of flavorful text, accents, and immersive details which made reading a joy. The side characters have vivid and amusing personalities. I did need to reread a few passages due to some of the high paced conversations. Then the conspiracy theories started playing in the back of my mind. Throughout the book there are fun hints, themes, and reoccurring plot points being casually brought up. (such as a Chess Pawn piece)
Mixed in with the main character’s attempts at sorting his own life we have other plots – the island itself is going through the growing pains of a small town trying to make money. We have other people’s relationship issues that Blake gets in the middle of – and parts of this are a bit hard to read. Blake essentially fixated on a bright spot he’d seen while everything started falling apart. Eventually he realizes he’s been played which leads to more entertaining drama.
For readers who don’t enjoy messy relationships in any way – this book may not be as enjoyable. It made me pause a few times then gloss over some of the conversations between Mal and ‘Hugh’ (Blake with a new name). Here’s a line summing up the first relationship in this book – and it’s worth knowing going in…
Mal’s voice dropped to the purr that had drawn Hugh in his first night with her. Her eyes were bright, as inviting as ever. She was working him, as sure as she had been working him that night.
Things turn around, plots come together – and everything builds nicely to the end. The final revelations on the various characters’ dark pasts satisfied my inquisitive streak. I loved the ending because it left me wondering about the other love interest – and which one was really worse.