Stone Cove Island
I picked up this e-book as a result of it’s been in comparison with Stephen King and The Stepford Wives–one of my favorite writers, and one in all my favorite books. Bonus: at 241 pages Stone Cove Island promised to be a fast, and hopefully thrilling, read. Well, it is fast…
And sure, like King’s Delores Claiborne, it takes place on a small New England island full of buried secrets and techniques. And yes, as in Stepford, Stone Cove Island is home to a nefarious secret society devoted to keeping the city picture good. Add to this a hurricane, an enigmatic hate letter, a 25-12 months-outdated unsolved homicide, plus one Nancy-Drew-and-Hardy-Boy-esque duo, and Stone Cove Island appears primed to be a thrill-trip of a mystery. Sadly, this story guarantees a level of sophistication beyond what it finally delivers.
The opening chapters are haunting and interesting in their very own, salty manner. First, (by way of a diary entry written by our narrator’s mother, Willa) we find out about Bess, a teenager who was murdered on the island back within the 1980’s and the hateful letter Bess received just days before she died. Next, we flash forward 25 years to our narrator, Eliza, as she deals with the aftermath of a hurricane that just ravaged her island. As Eliza walks the debris-littered streets, we are introduced to the quaint and isolated island of Stone Cove. It is right here (and sadly, only right here) that the story shines with authenticity. We get a vivid picture of a close-knit, nautical community with sturdy, conservative household values. We also meet Charlie, recent excessive-school graduate, aspiring journalist/sleuth, and obvious love interest. Collectively, Eliza and Charlie decide to do one thing to aid the city. While cleansing up storm debris in the island’s lighthouse, Eliza discovers the aforementioned letter to Bess, takes it to her mother and father and learns in regards to the unsolved homicide which has been stored a secret by the island-people all these years. Nutshelled: Bess disappeared, leaving nothing behind however a pile of severed hair and a bloody shirt in the lighthouse; so who killed her and why, and what did they do together with her body Appears to be like like we’ve got the workings of a thriller here, and Charlie is keen to help Eliza resolve it. Seems like enjoyable, right
Besides, it’s not precisely. Because fixing this mystery includes the stale shopping of plenty of library microfiche and Willa’s outdated diary entries, plus interviewing numerous flat characters who, despite their dedication to protecting this secret a secret, are tremendous prepared to gossip and share shades of what we already know. Despite one tepid warning for Eliza to cease snooping if she’s knows what’s good for her, there is just no urgency or tension right here. In spite of everything, this is a 25-yr-previous chilly case, and the principle suspects (a.okay.a. the leaders of the black anchor society) usually are not all that threatening–seeing as how they by no means truly threaten Eliza or Charlie.
That mentioned, Stone Cove Island is a web page turner, and throughout the vast majority of the story I maintained excessive hopes for a solid ending. Then, about three-quarters of the way in which in, issues become onerous to swallow. (Semi-Spoiler) First, out of nowhere, the local stone island jeans men authorities reopen the case and Eliza’s mom is hauled in as their #1 suspect. Eliza guesses their suspicion has to do with something written in Willa’s diary, however we by no means study specifics–making the whole `arrest’ feel like nothing greater than a plot system.
Then, it occurs. Eliza and Charlie uncover the massive (however ambiguous) clue.
(Big SPOILERS!) Seems, Bess was the one who wrote that hate letter to herself all those years in the past. She compiled it out of previous English essays she wrote (because, hey, why not ). Whereas the revelation is intriguing, the lightening-quick conclusion that our sleuths arrive at comes Method TOO Straightforward: Bess must have faked her demise… It takes Eliza and Charlie one stolen boat ride and a library e-newsletter, they usually track Bess down, piece of cake. Even easier: convincing Bess to return to the island to show herself in after she swears to them she will never return to the island. It just about performs out like this:
Bess: I will never return to that horrible island. (Finish Chapter)
(Next Chapter) Bess returns to the horrible island–“although it took some convincing.” …That is literally all we get.
Like the rest of Stone Cove Island, this ending had some severe potential. However, ultimately, due to a scarcity of vivid plot and character improvement it feels contrived, rushed, and hokey like a cleaning soap opera. Unlike King and Stepford, there’s not a lot intellectually or emotionally heavy about Stone Cove…even as it manages to sink like a black anchor.