Friday, May 30, 2008

Island Life, by Michael W. Sherer

Michael W. Sherer
Five Star Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9781594146336
Reviewed by Danielle Feliciano for Reader Views (4/08)



In “Island Life,” we are drawn into the world of Jack Holm, suddenly single father to his two children after his wife suddenly goes missing. Jack’s relationship with Mary was on the rocks before her disappearance and with her job as a flight attendant, he does not report her missing for a few days. This puts the story in motion as the police arrest Jack for Mary’s murder, Children’s Services takes his children and begins their own investigation, Jack’s mother-in-law files for custody, and Jack realizes he has no one to rely on but himself to solve the mystery of what happened to his wife before he and his children become the next victims.

Interspersed with the narration are snippets of conversations between Jack and his therapist. These conversations give great depth to the story as they are the only times you are truly in Jack’s head. In his day-to-day life, he is going through the motions, just doing his best to hold on for the sake of his kids. With his therapist, however, Jack truly lets go of pretending and opens up like he does to nobody else. These interludes give “Island Life” a voice of originality that you don’t see often in this genre.

There is nothing perfect about Jack and that makes it all the more wondrous that you find yourself rooting for him. He admits to affairs, has ignored the problems in his marriage, and does things that many parents would never think of (dragging his children to Las Vegas while he goes after the killer). It is exactly these imperfections that make him so real. He is tortured, he makes no excuses for the choices he has made, and while he makes a few questionable parenting decisions, he truly believes those decisions are what is best for his children.

“Island Life” was truly gripping. I read it in one day, as I kept finding myself lost within the books. It does fall apart a bit towards the end, where it feels as though the author tries too hard to attain action and thrills rather than staying at the same pace as the rest of the book. Sherer quickly redeems himself, however, and leaves the reader feeling satisfied.


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