Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Shaw arrives on a private, remote island in Fiji to sell a stolen painting to the crime boss, Vornis. Shaw has been working on this project for six years and this deal could take his career as a facilitator to the next level. As his helicopter lands, he feels a gravitational pull and takes in the green, lush landscape.
When Vornis shows off his latest toy, a captured DEA agent being held prisoner, Shaw is once again confronted with the color green in the captivating, but lifeless eyes of the prisoner. The prisoner, Lee, stares out vacantly and his body sways as if he is attached to an imaginary leash. Any other time, any other place, Lee would be Shaw’s type; young, lean and gorgeous.
When Vornis gifts Lee to Shaw during his stay on the island, Shaw tries to keep his hands off of him. Shaw knows Lee will not make it off the island, knows there is nothing he can do to help Lee, and there are lines that even Shaw will not cross.
The Island was released in 2012, and I ask myself what island have I been living on that it has taken me two years to read this book. From the first chapter, the writing and story are tense and the characters are intense. There are way more questions than answers as the details are exposed slowly, carefully, calculated, and in small engaging increments.
The island itself is described in vivid detail as I was able to capture the wealth, the sand, the colors, the warm breeze, and the numerous sand dollars Lee collects. But, hidden behind the beauty, is evil in the form of Vornis. His face to the world is an educated man who enjoys the finer things in life. Closer to the truth, he is a murdering, violent drug lord and crime boss. Lee becomes the perfect example of what happens to those that get caught crossing him or trying to infiltrate his business.
Shaw arrives in Fiji ready to advance his career and sell a stolen impressionist painting to Vornis. Shaw knows he associates with some scary people, but being admitted into Vornis’ inner circle will advance his career in ways he has dreamt about for the past six years. The last thing he expects is a moral dilemma in the form of a hot, boy toy prisoner that is left at his door at his gift.
The scene where Shaw first meets Lee goes a long way to setting up Shaw’s mysterious character. He has an internal struggle between the job he came to do and his emotions regarding Lee’s captivity. Shaw strives to preserve his own humanity, carry out his job, and keep Lee safe in whatever limited way he is able to, without getting himself killed in the process.
Lee’s character is heartbreaking. He is broken, confused, drugged, violently abused, and has lucid moments where he struggles to remember who he is. He desperately tries to hold on and clings to the hope that Shaw will save him.
This book contains a lot of abuse. While much of the actual abuse happens off page, we know what is happening and we are privy to the physical and emotional aftermath. I was right there with Shaw as his heart skips a beat, I had an adrenaline rush right along with Lee, and I inwardly cringed as my mind’s eye pictured the abuse and torture. There is a lot of character building and the action is secondary. There is one big action scene that is well needed, well placed, and continues to amp up the intensity. Although the book falls into the romance category, there is not a lot of romance here, but a pull and a connection between Shaw and Lee that captivated me and I could not wait to see what if….
The ending took me where I wanted to go, but ultimately left me wanting more. It was the scene that the entire story had been building toward and it was just not long enough for me. There are a lot of personal details described and exposed, but not enough time devoted to explore them. Either a longer, more in depth ending scene or an epilogue would have made my journey more complete.
This is the book that the term book hangover was invented for. Because now that I have been voted off of the island, what will I read next. This is not the book that you think about reading a line or two at the red light; this is the book you stay out of the car for and read straight through. Be sure to, “Focus.” Or you just might not see it coming.