This gripping tale is told in alternate viewpoints between Tamara Bennett and William ‘Zel’ Chisel. Tamara’s sections are present day, while Zel’s are five years earlier.
Tamara returns home after dropping her parents off at the airport to find her house ransacked. She is grabbed from behind and threatened with a gun. Managing to escape she flees for the bathroom, only to be trapped by the high window. Another person comes to her aid, bundles her into a car and takes her away.
Five years earlier Zel is with his family, the rich and influential Chisels, on their yacht when they are caught in a storm. The boat capsizes and the occupants are washed up on a nearby island. Zel’s cousin, the much-loved Christian, is missing. Zel’s older brother, bully and intimidator Knox, is up to something and Zel spends the time leading up to Tamara’s break in trying to keep out of his way.
The time has come for Zel to finally act on his suspicions. Tamara , a budding journalist, has just finished writing a story about a message in a bottle found on a beach, supposedly from Christian Chisel. Previous messages have been found but have all resulted in mysterious deaths and disappearances. Tamara is in grave danger but whom can she trust?
Ferris has created a believable and riveting mystery. The structure of the narrative, alternating between times and characters, maintains the suspense and intrigue. This suspense is built quickly and does not linger or decline. It continues to build as the narrative continues, making this a novel hard to put down. The characters are well written and the dialogue is strong. I described this book to a friend as being ‘tight’. Every aspect is covered well and I did not want to skip any part of it.
The only problem I have with the book is the cover. I believe this book will appeal to both female and male readers, especially teen readers who love a good mystery. I fear the cover may not appeal to some boys to pick it up, or may influence an unsuspecting librarian to recommend it only to girls. Please don’t, this book is for all. I will certainly be promoting this to my students, teenage boys, and look forward to discussing it with them.
Highly recommended for all teens, especially those who love a good mystery.
Many thanks to Penguin Random House for supplying this book for review.