Book Review: Island in the Clouds by Susan Toy

This is probably one of the most delightful crime fiction stories I have ever read. If you have ever thought about escaping to a Caribbean Island, you need to read this book. A cozy mystery, the author introduces a heinous crime, and then takes you around the beautiful island of Bequia to meet the most interesting characters. Toy has a magical way with words in her lovely descriptions of place and person. You see the sights in their entire splendor and feel the warmth of the island sun. People on the island, both locals and ex-pats, have so very much personality. Main character, Geoff, is hiding his own secret, while trying to unravel the mystery of a murder that takes place on a property he manages. People associated with the murder victim are also keeping some nasty secrets which place them in harm’s way.

At mid-point of the book, the action kicks in and Geoff and his friends find themselves in danger. Drug lords and island thugs complicate his investigation, and local authorities, with their relaxed island mentality and manner, are of no use. The story is told in first person and you can’t help but be drawn into Geoff’s emotions as his friends and family are in peril. Slipping between present tense descriptions and past tense narrative and action was a bit distracting, but overall the story really drew me in and made me feel a natural part of the experience. I loved the surprising conclusion and found the island folk’s camaraderie and compassion deeply moving.

This is an author that I would like to read more from, and a person I know I would enjoy island hopping with on my next vacation. If you enjoy an intriguing tale of mystery and malice that will take you to a wonderful place for an adventure, you will love this book.

4 of 5 Stars

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