Deception Island by Brynn Kelly – 2016

9780373789641.inddDeception Island won the 2017 KORU Published Romance Book of the Year Award, and deservedly so.  It is a Romance novel; a large part of it deals with two people on a tropical island, they should hate each other but between them sexual tension sizzles, and they frequently have to plunge into the lagoon to cool off, and hide parts of their bodies that are betraying lustful urges.  The two characters are evenly matched and it is all good fun and deliciously played out.  But this book is also a thriller, and a really interesting one.  The woman on the island has been kidnapped by the man.  She (Kelly) has been body doubling for an heiress who is supposed to be sailing solo around the world, keeping the socialite’s fans entranced via a low-resolution web-cam.  She is actually an ex-con with an abusive background and no time at all for men.  The guy (Rafe) kidnaps her for ransom in order to free his son from the clutches of an old boy-soldier comrade (Gabriel), who is threatening to recruit the boy in the same vicious way the two of them were when they fled their war-torn homes.  Rafe is a damaged man who has no time at all for anyone – except for his son.  The story blasts through the expected resolution of the two lost souls on the island to a sequence of events on a second island, where Kelly is given more texture to Rafe’s background and ends up fighting for her life, not knowing if she is in danger from just one of the ex-boy-soldiers or from them both.  When she accuses Gabriel of being an animal he responds: “No, my dear. I am human, and that is far worse.”  The book has themes of child abuse (both in war and in the home), people trafficking, and most of all whether abuse can take away a person’s capacity for love.  It is a high adrenaline read with a feisty female lead and I really enjoyed it.

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