Verdict: RED SAND is an absorbing tale that combines the deadly and sinister forces of man and nature gone wild in a enthralling plot that has the reader turning the page with every new development that takes an enlightening look on “civilized” man.
Author Ronan Cray fully engages the reader from the start with a curious letter to the reader that explains why he wrote the book, confessing that it gave him nightmares and asking for a moment of silence for “all those lost souls and the horror of their end”. The inclusion of the map and the cheat sheet revealing the characters then adds to the intrigue. The prologue then dives immediately into Mason’s story as he recollects what brought him on this nauseating cruise to Europe. Cray’s language is articulate and precise. His beautifully flawed and diverse characters are revealed through Cray’s rich descriptions and succinct dialogue that effectively reveals their appearance in addition to their personalities and vulnerabilities: “That great expanse of water troubled Mason. He gripped the cold iron rail so hard he could feel paint chips bite into his flesh. The sea must be dealt with in small portions.”
Cray’s writing articulates the barren, rough physical threats and challenges of the island, as the survivors must work daily to provide daily food and water supplies. But it is Cray’s deft unraveling of the human psyche and development of themes of the wild versus the “civilized” that makes the plot and story so powerful and engrossing, as Tuk, the self-proclaimed leader of the island must maintain control of the new members of the island, but also the whisperings from his former island crew.
As the characters are unraveled, unveiling the events leading up to them being on the cruise, the suspense increases, because with every truth that is revealed, Cray presents another question, another mystery, another suspicion that adds to the tension of the dynamics between the characters, and to the suspense of the plot.
RED SAND is an absorbing tale that combines the deadly and sinister forces of man and nature gone wild in a enthralling plot that has the reader turning the page with every new development that takes an enlightening look on “civilized” man.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader.com