Originally published 2015-06-17: The Island by Peter Benchley TBR Pile Challenge Review 10
Being such a huge fan of Jaws (in movie and book form), this book practically shouted at me when I saw it in the last library book sale I went to.
I love what I’ve read of Peter Benchley’s work so far, so even though the plotline of The Island didn’t appeal to me as much, I thought I would give it a try. Naturally, once I got it home, I promptly put it (and the rest of my library sale finds) in the back of my closet, and didn’t unearth it again until I was searching for books for the TBR Pile Challenge.
Blair Maynard, a divorced journalist in New York City, decides to write a story about the unexplained disappearance of yachts and other small boats in the Caribbean, hoping to debunk theories about the Bermuda Triangle. He has weekend custody of his preteen son Justin, and decides to mix a vacation with work, taking his son along.
They fly from Miami to the Turks and Caicos island chain but, while on fishing trip, are captured by a band of pirates. The pirates have, amazingly, remained undetected since the establishment of their pirate enclave by Jean-David Nau, the notorious buccaneer L’Olonnais, in 1671…
What can I say about this book? I wasn’t very fond of the main character. He seemed like a drifter, someone without purpose in life, so I wasn’t sure how he was going to be any kind of “hero”. I thought that, more likely, he would end up being the kind of protagonist that things just happen to, instead of someone who is proactive in his own destiny.
So I was pleasantly surprised when, in the thick of things, he suddenly grew a backbone. His dalliance with rebellion turned into much more than a childish impulse; instead, he became a man with a mission to save himself and someone he loved, and I respected that.
The plot was thick, with veins of mystery shot throughout, and it kept me guessing far into the main character’s journey. As the story moves from uneventful beginning, to intriguing, harrowing middle, to the explosive end, his relationship with his son morphed and changed almost to the point of being a character all on its own.
Jaws it isn’t, but The Island holds its own. Altogether, this was a fast, interesting read. I give it four of five stars.
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