Dark Family/ Business Drama. This is one of those books with a wildly atmospheric setting – a short sail on dad’s megayacht over to Catalina Island and back, during which storms both literal and personal envelop the entire family. If you need likeable characters or levity… there isn’t any modicum of that to be found here. This is dark, gets darker, and right when you think it can’t possibly get any darker… goes nearly as dark as it can without involving kids or genocide or some such. It is a story where yet again Tony Stark’s like about Nick Fury in The Avengers comes to bear: “his secrets have secrets”… and this is true of pretty well every single person on the boat, as we’ll find out by the end of this tale. This is absolutely one where your own feelings about dialog and situations may vary, but I for one didn’t see anything “objective-ish” wrong with them, so I’m not going to fault the tale or the author here. I’m simply noting I’ve seen that complaint in other reviews, and I could see where that argument could potentially be made, but I personally didn’t feel they were. Ultimately an interesting tale, one near perfect for a dark stormy night where you don’t want an actual horror-type tale, but you do what to have a minor sense of suspense and foreboding, perhaps with a nice wine or beer. Very much recommended.
Solid “Locked In” Mystery Asks Serious Questions. This is one of those “everyone is trapped in the house, and everyone has secrets” kind of mysteries that classic mystery lovers will love, and newer mystery lovers that are all about the shock value/ twist… eh, your mileage may vary. I personally thought the ending was particularly well done and while not *overly* shocking in *who* was involved, was brilliantly executed in *why* they were involved. Which gets to the whole “asks serious questions” bit, as the “questions” indicated in the description… are *NOT* the only questions raised. This book has a lot of meat there for those who *want* a deeper psychological dive, particularly in probing their own consciences – but it also offers enough directly in the text that if all you want is a few hours of classic mystery escapism… that is all you have to take from this particular tale. Which is usually a sign of a particularly strong storyteller, when they can give both readers what they want in the same story. This was my first book from Cross, and most likely will not be my last. Very much recommended.
When The Storms Of Life Slam Into You. This is a book that can be a bit oppressive at times in just how *heavy* it is. Our main character has suffered a lot of loss that she’s never fully recovered from – some more recent than others – and now she has to confront it all. And yet, it is because of such heavy tragedy that the book is able to explore all that it does and indeed show just the level of hope and forgiveness it does. By the end, the reader is left feeling much lighter and more hopeful for the future, and yet also somber in the face of all that has been lost and yet also all that has been found. If you’re looking for a lighter, quirkier book ala Nolfi’s earlier Sweet Lakes trilogy… this isn’t that. But if you’ve been through some White Hurricanes yourself, or maybe are currently in the middle of one, and just need some level of hope to cling to… this is the kind of book you’ll want to read. And let’s face it – we’ve *all* been through a White Hurricane, are in one, or are about to be in one. (And often all three at once.) For those times and any other, this book is very much recommended.